Multiple wishes, multiple fears: On parallelism in neural processing and the relation between person-centered and interpersonal explanations.

This article discusses Michael Westerman’s paper, “Interpersonal Defense Theory: An Integration of Philosophical Considerations, Psychoanalytic Concepts, and Perspectives on Interpersonal Processes That Provides a Guide for a Wide Range of Therapeutic Interventions” (Westerman, 2018). Among the issues it discusses are (1) the distinction between feedback, feed-forward, and self-fulfilling prophecy; (2) the simultaneous operation of many wishes and many fears at once and attention to the ways that the brain is a parallel processing organ; (3) the conceptualization of a contextual self, such that interpersonal outcome and subjective experience or frame of reference are not antithetical but two sides of living in the world; and (4) the distinction between critiques of a particular therapist’s approach that reflect fundamental theoretical differences and critiques that reflect different inferences about the clinical material. My discussion highlights numerous overlaps between Westerman’s views and recommendations and those deriving from other theoretical positions and invites Westerman to further highlight and clarify what he views as unique about interpersonal defense theory. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)