04/19/2024, 15:05, Vienna  DEUTSCH / ENGLISH

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Leading articles

THE VIENNA PSYCHOANALYST wants to give not only already internationally established psychoanalysts, but also still unknown psychoanalysts the opportunity to post a self-written and not yet published article on the FrontPage of our online magazine!

Our Users then can leave comments, ask questions or discuss the articles in our forum. Our aim is to provide an international platform where for the first time anyone interested in psychoanalysis can exchange ideas on certain topics.
Articles are welcome in German and/ or English.

If you are interested, please send your article to

(For reasons of readability, the male form is used with personal names, however the female form is also always intended.)




In our interview series "in conversation with“, we will briefly present the authors of the leading articles. We want to give our users the opportunity to read the leading article from a different point of view.

This week we are very glad to welcome Steven Stern from Portland, Maine in the U.S.A.:

Amherst College, Amherst, MA  (1966-1970)
B.A., Cum Laude
Honors:  Independent Scholar in Literature
University of Illinois, Champaign, IL  (1974-1981)
M.S. 1979, Clinical Psychology
Psy.D. 1981, Clinical Psychology                         
University of Wisconsin, Dept. of Psychiatry, Madison, WI. (1978-1979)
Internship in Clinical Psychology
Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, Chicago, IL (1992-1999)
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, State of Maine (#PS1128)
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, State of Illinois (No. 071-003158)
American Psychological Association
APA Division 39 (Psychoanalysis)
International Association of Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP)
Member of the International Council, International Association of Psychoanalytic  Self Psychology (IAPSP)

Faculty, Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis (Cambridge/Boston) (2003-Present).
Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine and Maine Medical Center (2011-Present)
Faculty, Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis (2000-2004).
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Vermont Medical School/Maine Medical Center (2003-2011).

DWP: What brought you to psychoanalysis?

Steven Stern: (1) During college, working 3 summers in an analytically-oriented therapeutic camp in New Hampshire. It was trial by fire, alone much of the time with nine 10-year old boys in a cabin in the woods! With the help of skilled analytic supervisors I learned how to convert what could have been “Lord of the Flies” into a deeply therapeutic (though often emotionally raw) milieu; (2) As a psychology intern in Madison WI in the late 1970s, being supervised by a self-psychologically-oriented analyst on the case of a multiply abused, “borderline” young woman and seeing first hand the transformative power of empathic understanding and connection.

DWP: If you had the opportunity to talk with Sigmund Freud, what would be the topic?
Are there any specific questions?

Steven Stern: I’d want to talk to him about the analytic relationship and his own major deviations from his official recommended technical approach (Lynn & Valliant, 1998).  He was anything but anonymous, non-directive, and personally unexpressive. I would ask him how he truly viewed the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis, given his relational engagement with virtually all of his patients, especially in his later years.

DWP: Fabric or leather couch?

Steven Stern: Fabric, because the couch is for my patients; not about my identification with Freud!

DWP: According to Bruno Bettelheim and the importance of fairy tales in childhood. Will you tell us your favorite fairy tale? And do you see parallels to your own adult life?

Steven Stern: None stands out.

DWP: I dream,….

Steven Stern: I dream of obstacles so that the dream work has a job; and of possibilities, so the dream work has an aim and the desire to pursue it!

DWP: What do you find good or particularly good in psychoanalysis and is there anything you do not like about it?

Steven Stern: GOOD: The brilliance and healing potential of our major theories, especially when used in combination. BAD: The institutionalization and historical rigidity of psychoanalytic schools of thought, leading to breakdowns in creativity and freedom (in both theory and practice), and rendering inter-theoretical dialogue boring because the participants enter believing they already know the important truths, and thus aren’t really listening. Three cheers for rigorous, creative, integrative thinking!

DWP: What challenges did you have to face during your analytic training?

Steven Stern: I had the initial challenge of getting admitted for training, given that I was a psychologist applying in the late 1980s. I was held to a different standard than psychiatrist applicants, and thus was rejected the first time I applied.  Once admitted, however, I can’t complain too much as I had, overall, a positive, life-transforming experience and felt respected by most of the faculty.

DWP: Do you have a favorite Freud - quote?

Steven Stern: “Thus the shadow of the object fell upon the ego.” (Mourning and Melancholia)

DWP:  Are there other psychoanalysts, in addition to Sigmund Freud, who you like to study?

Steven Stern: I have learned from many, but especially Winnicott, Bion, Sullivan, Kohut, Bollas, and Ogden.

Thank you very much for this conversation, we are already looking forward to your leading article!
Below you will find selected publications by the author.

Contact information of the author:
Steven Stern

Stern, S. (2017). Needed relationships and Psychoanalytic Healing: A Holistic Relational Perspective on the Therapeutic Process. London: Routledge.
(2017). Holistic Thinking and Therapeutic Action: Building on Louis Sander’s Contribution. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27: 89-103.
(2017, In Press). Needed Analytic Relationships and the Disproportionate Relational Focus on Enactments. In J. Slochower, S. Grand, and L. Aron (Eds.) Decentering Relational Theory: A Comparative Critique. London and New York: Routledge, In Press.
(2016), Complexity and risk in relational therapy: Discussion of Joye Weisel-Barth’s “Courting the real and stumbling in realithy.” International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, 11: 126-135.
(2014), A 9-year analysis with a connection-resistant patient: Theory, reality, and the messiness of therapeutic action. International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, 9: 172-192.
(2012), Unpacking alchemy: Commentary on paper by Noelle Burton. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 22: 687-695.
(2011), The therapeutic action of analytic love: Commentary on Joye Weisel-Barth’s “Katherine: A Long Hard Case.” International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, 6: 489-504.
(2010), Recognition revisited: Commentaries on Donna Orange’s (2008) “Recognition as: Intersubjective Vulnerability.” International Journal of Psychoanaltyic Self Psychology, 5: 223-226.
(2009), Session frequency and the definition of psychoanalysis, Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 19: 639-655.
(2009), The dialectic of empathy and freedom. International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology. 4: 132-164.
(2008), In praise of language. International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology. 3: 504-506.
(2007), The conundrum of self-care. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 43, 605-620. (This paper was based on a paper originally presented at Grand Rounds, Maine Medical Center, Dept. of Psychiatry, 2004-5)
(2004), The yin and yang of intersubjectivity: Integrating self-psychological and relational thinking. Progress in Self Psychology, 20, 3-20.
(2002), The self as a relational structure: A dialogue with multiple self theory. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 12, 693-714.
(2002), Identification, repetition and psychological growth: An expansion of relational theory. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 19, 722-738.
(1994), Needed relationships and repeated relationships: An integrated relational perspective. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 4, 317-345.

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