Title: Paradoxes of the Self: The Contrapuntal Style of Arnold Modell
Author: Lewis A. Kirshner
Abstract: The work of Arnold Modell over the past forty years constitutes a major contribution to contemporary psychoanalytic thought. Of particular note are his efforts to sustain a paradoxical conception of the self as both an evolving, contingent product and an enduring core. Moving back and forth between celebration of the private self and articulation of the impossibility of a one-person psychoanalysis, Modell’s quest to define the nature of the self has taken him from classical analytic theory, through Winnicott and object relations, to the philosophy of intersubjectivity and, in later years, to the work of infant researchers and neuroscientists. In doing so, he has placed the continuity of the self and the making of personal meaning at the center of psychoanalytic practice. The evolution of his thinking reflects a turn toward a protean and transitional conception of the self, away from the notion of an enduring or superordinate core self.