This article explores the links between power relations and psychotherapy, using as a case study some post-Freudian psychoanalytic theories. The approaches of “classical,” Kleinian, and “object relations” theories to psychoanalytic psychotherapy are compared, and particular attention is paid to the “image” of the analyst that they convey. Criticisms are presented of the denial of power relations in the classical approach, and of the unquestioning acceptance of a “maternal metaphor” in object relations theory. Kleinianism, while sharing some of these difficulties, presents more radical possibilities through its attitude towards destructiveness and its advocacy of a thoroughgoing restructuring of the underlying structure of personality during analysis. The article concludes with, a reference to the subversive possibilities to be found in Lacanian therapy. © 1987, Elsevier B.V.
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