In this powerful and wonderfully accessible meditation on psychoanalysis, hermeneutics, and social constructivism, Donnel Stern explores the relationship between two fundamental kinds of experience: explicit verbal reflection and "unformulated experience," or experience we have not yet reflected on and put into words. Stern is especially concerned with the process by which we come to formulate the unformulated. It is not an instrumental task, he holds, but one that requires openness and curiosity; the result of the process is not accuracy alone, but experience that is deeply felt and fully imagined. Stern's sense of explicit verbal experience as continuously constructed and emergent leads to a central dialectic at the heart of his work: that between curiosity and imagination, on one hand, and dissociation and unthinking acceptance of the familiar on the other. The goal of psychoanalytic work, he holds, is the freedom to be curious, whereas defense signifies the denial of this freedom. We defend against our fear of what we would think, that is, if we allowed ourselves the freedom to think it. Stern also shows how the unconscious itself can be reconceptualized hermeneutically, and he goes on to explore the implications of this viewpoint on interpretation and countertransference. He is especially persuasive in showing how the interpersonal field, which is continuously in flux, limits the experience that it is possible for participants to reflect on. Thus it is that analyst and patient are together "caught in the grip of the field," often unable to see the kind of relatedness in which they are mutually involved. A brilliant demonstration of the clinical consequentiality of hermeneutic thinking, Unformulated Experience bears out Stern's belief that psychoanalysis is as much about the revelation of the new in experience as it is about the discovery of the old
Partners in Thought
Author: Donnel B. Stern
Building on the innovative work of Unformulated Experience, Donnel B. Stern continues his exploration of the creation of meaning in clinical psychoanalysis with Partners in Thought. The chapters in this fascinating book are undergirded by the concept that the meanings which arise from unformulated experience are catalyzed by the states of relatedness in which the meanings emerge. In hermeneutic terms, what takes place in the consulting room is a particular kind of conversation, one in which patient and analyst serve as one another’s partner in thought, an emotionally responsive witness to the other’s experience. Enactment, which Stern theorizes as the interpersonalization of dissociation, interrupts this crucial kind of exchange, and the eventual breach of enactments frees analyst and patient to resume it. Later chapters compare his views to the ideas of others, considering mentalization theory and the work of the Boston Change Process Study Group. Approaching the link between dissociation and enactment via hermeneutics, metaphor, and narrative, among other perspectives, Stern weaves an experience-near theory of psychoanalytic relatedness that illuminates dilemmas clinicians find themselves in every day. Full of clinical illustrations showing how Stern works with dissociation and enactment, Partners in Thought is destined to take its place beside Unformulated Experience as a major contribution to the psychoanalytic literature.
Author: Donnel B. Stern
Relational Freedom: Emergent Properties of the Interpersonal Field addresses the interpersonal field in clinical psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, especially the emergent qualities of the field. The book builds on the foundation of unformulated experience, dissociation, and enactment defined and explored in Stern’s previous, widely read books. Stern never considers the analyst or the patient alone; all clinical events take place between them and involve them both. Their conscious and unconscious conduct and experience are the field’s substance. We can say that the changing nature of the field determines the experience that patient and analyst can create in one another’s presence; but we can also say that the therapeutic dyad, simply by doing their work together, ceaselessly configures and reconfigures the field. "Relational freedom" is Stern’s own interpersonal and relational conception of the field, which he compares, along with other varieties of interpersonal/relational field theory, to the work of Bionian field theorists such as Madeleine and Willy Baranger, and Antonino Ferro. Other chapters concern the role of the field in accessing the frozen experience of trauma, in creating theories of therapeutic technique, evaluating quantitative psychotherapy research, evaluating the utility of the concept of unconscious phantasy, treating the hard-to-engage patient, and in devising the ideal psychoanalytic institute. Relational Freedom is a clear, authoritative, and impassioned statement of the current state of interpersonal and relational psychoanalytic theory and clinical thinking. It will interest anyone who wants to stay up to date with current developments in American psychoanalysis, and for those newer to the field it will serve as an introduction to many of the important questions in contemporary psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysts and psychotherapists of all kinds will profit from the book’s thoughtful discussions of clinical problems and quandaries. Donnel B. Stern, Ph.D.., a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist in private practice in New York City, serves as Training and Supervising Analyst at the William Alanson White Institute, and Adjunct Clinical Professor and Consultant at the NYU Postodoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. He is the founder and editor of "Psychoanalysis in a New Key," a book series published by Routledge.
Standing in the Spaces
Author: Philip M. Bromberg
Early in these essays, Bromberg contemplates how one might engage schizoid detachment within an interpersonal perspective. To his surprise, he finds that the road to the patient's disavowed experiences most frequently passes through the analyst's internal conversation, as multiple configurations of self-other interaction, previously dissociated, are set loose first in the analyst and then played out in the interpersonal field. This insight leads to other discoveries. Beneath the dissociative structures seen in schizoid patients, and also in other personality disorders, Bromberg regularly finds traumatic experience -- even in patients not otherwise viewed as traumatized. This discovery allows interpersonal notions of psychic structure to emerge in a new light, as Bromberg arrives at the view that all severe character pathology masks dissociative defenses erected to ward off the internal experience of trauma and to keep the external world at bay to avoid retraumatization. These insights, in turn, open to a new understanding of dissociative processes as intrinsic to the therapeutic process per se. For Bromberg, it is the unanticipated eruption of the patient's relational world, with its push-pull impact on the analyst's effort to maintain a therapeutic stance, that makes possible the deepest and most therapeutically fruitful type of analytic experience. Bromberg's essays are delightfully unpredictable, as they strive to keep the reader continually abreast of how words can and cannot capture the subtle shifts in relatedness that characterize the clinical process. Indeed, at times Bromberg's writing seems vividly to recreate the alternating states of mind of the relational analyst at work. Stirringly evocative in character and radiating clinical wisdom infused with compassion and wit, Standing in the Spaces is a classic destined to be read and reread by analysts and therapists for decades to come.
Author: Stuart A. Pizer
In Building Bridges, Stuart A. Pizer gives much-needed recognition to the central role of negotiation in the analytic relationship and in the therapeutic process. Building on a Winnicottian perspective that comprehends paradox as the condition for preserving an intrapsychic and relational "potential space," Pizer explores how the straddling of paradox requires an ongoing process of negotiation and demonstrates how such negotiation articulates the creative potential within the potential space of analysis. Following careful review of Winnicott's perspective on paradox-via the pairings of privacy and interrelatedness, isolation and interdependence, ruthlessness and concern, and the notion of transitional phenomena-Pizer locates these elemental paradoxes within the negotiations of an analytic process. Together, he observes, analyst and patient negotiate the boundaries, potentials, limits, tonalities, resistances, and meanings that determine the course of their clinical dialogue. Elaborating on the theme of a multiply constituted, "distributed" self, Pizer presents a model for the tolerance of paradox as a developmental achievement related to ways in which caretakers function as "transitional mirrors." He then explores the impact of trauma and dissociation on the child's ability to negotiate paradox and clarifies how negotiation of paradox differs from negotiation of conflict. Pizer also broadens the scope of his study by turning to negotiation theory and practices in the disciplines of law, diplomacy, and dispute resolution. Enlivened by numerous clinical vignettes and a richly detailed chronicle of an analytic case from its earliest negotiations to termination, Building Bridges adds a significant dimension to theoretical understanding and clinical practice. It is altogether a psychoanalytic work of our time.
The theory of unformulated experience is an interpersonal/relational conception of unconscious process. The idea is that unconscious content is not fully formed, merely awaiting discovery, but is instead better understood as potential experience—a vague, vaguely organized, primitive, global, non-ideational, affective state. In the past, the formulation of experience was most commonly understood as verbal articulation. That was the perspective Donnel B. Stern took in 1997 in his first book, Unformulated Experience: From Dissociation to Imagination in Psychoanalysis. In this new book, Stern recognizes that we need to theorize the formulation of nonverbal experience, as well. Using new concepts of the "acceptance" and "use" of experience that "feels like me," Stern argues for a wider conception of "meaningfulness." Some formulated experience is verbal ("articulation"), but other formulations are nonverbal ("realization"). Demonstrating how this can be so is at the heart of this book. Stern then goes on to house this entire set of ideas in the commodious conception of language offered by Charles Taylor, Gadamer, and Merleau-Ponty. The Infinity of the Unsaid offers an expansion of the theory of unformulated experience that has important implications for clinical thinking and practice; it will be of great interest to relational/interpersonal psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists.
Awakening the Dreamer
Author: Philip M. Bromberg
In Awakening the Dreamer: Clinical Journeys, Philip Bromberg continues the illuminating explorations into dissociation and clinical process begun in Standing in the Spaces (1998). Bromberg is among our most gifted clinical writers, especially in his unique ability to record peripheral variations in relatedness - those subtle, split-second changes that capture the powerful workings of dissociation and chart the changing self-states that analyst and patient bring to the moment. For Bromberg, a model of mind premised on the centrality of self-states and dissociation not only offers the optimal lens for comprehending and interpreting clinical data; it also provides maximum leverage for achieving true intersubjective relatedness. And this manner of looking at clinical data offers the best vantage point for integrating psychoanalytic experience with the burgeoning findings of contemporary neuroscience, cognitive and developmental psychology, and attachment research. Dreams are approached not as texts in need of deciphering but as means of contacting genuine but not yet fully conscious self-states. From here, he explores how the patient's "dreamer" and the analyst's "dreamer" can come together to turn the "real" into the "really real" of mutative therapeutic dialogue. The "difficult," frequently traumatized patient is newly appraised in terms of tensions within the therapeutic dyad. And then there is the "haunted" patient who carries a sense of preordained doom through years of otherwise productive work - until the analyst can finally feel the patient's doom as his or her own. Laced with Bromberg's characteristic honesty, humor, and thoughtfulness, these essays elegantly attest to the mind's reliance on dissociation, in both normal and pathological variants, in the ongoing effort to maintain self-organization. Awakening the Dreamer, no less than Standing in the Spaces, is destined to become a permanent part of the literature on therapeutic process and change.
The psychoanalytic process is characterized by a complex weave of interrelated polarities: transference and countertransference, repetition and new experience, enactment and interpretation, discipline and personal responsiveness, the intrapsychic and the interpersonal, construction and discovery. In Ritual and Spontaneity in the Psychoanalytic Process, Irwin Z. Hoffman, through compelling clinical accounts, demonstrates the great therapeutic potential that resides in the analyst's struggle to achieve a balance within each of these dialectics. According to Hoffman, the psychoanalytic modality implicates a dialectic tension between interpersonal influence and interpretive exploration, a tension in which noninterpretive and interpretive interactions continuously elicit one another. It follows that Hoffman's "dialectical constructivism" highlights the intrinsic ambiguity of experience, an ambiguity that coexists with the irrefutable facts of a person's life, including the fact of mortality. The analytic situation promotes awareness of the freedom to shape one's life story within the constraints of given realities. Hoffman deems it a special kind of crucible for the affirmation of worth and the construction of meaning in a highly uncertain world. The analyst, in turn, emerges as a moral influence with an ironic kind of authority, one that is enhanced by the ritualized aspects of the analytic process even as it is subjected to critical scrutiny. An intensely clinical work, Ritual and Spontaneity in the Psychoanalytic Process forges a new understanding of the curative possibilities that grow out of the tensions, the choices, and the constraints inhering in the intimate encounter of a psychoanalyst and a patient. Compelling reading for all analysts and analytic therapists, it will also be powerfully informative for scholars in the social sciences and the humanities.
Author: Pamela Cooper-White
Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers
What if we are more multiple as persons than traditional psychology has taught us to believe? And what if our multiplicity is a part of how we are made in the very image of a loving, relational, multiple God? How have modern, Western notions of Oneness caused harm--to both individuals and society? And how can an appreciation of our multiplicity help liberate the voices of those who live at the margins, both of society and within our own complex selves? Braided Selves explores these questions from the perspectives of postmodern pastoral psychology and Trinitarian theology, with implications for the practice of spiritual care, counseling, and psychotherapy. This volume gathers ten years of essays on this theme by preeminent pastoral theologian Pamela Cooper-White, whose writings bring into dialogue postmodern, feminist, and psychoanalytic theory and constructive theology.
There are multiple meanings to the term 'group-as-a-whole' and all have a contribution. This book emphasizes that the therapist ideally listens with the fourth ear, not only attending to the latent communication of each individual, but also listening for the shared theme of the whole group. Ferreting out the underlying theme that the entire group is dealing with, the common group tension, provides a valuable opportunity for each individual to change the underlying issues that impair his or her relationships. In addition, the author provides a wide ranging coverage of theoretical, clinical, and training issues. These include a clarification of the confusing, but all-important conception of projective identification as well as a contribution to the understanding of the similarities and differences between group and individual psychotherapy. He presents a special perspective on why groups are particularly indicated in dealing with narcissistic pathology and also explores the effect of the therapist's narcissism on his patients. Finally, he emphasizes that therapists' participation as members of experiential groups is an essential part of their training.
Building on the comprehensive theoretical model of dissociation elegantly developed in The Dissociative Mind, Elizabeth Howell makes another invaluable contribution to the clinical understanding of dissociative states with Understanding and Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder. Howell, working within the realm of relational psychoanalysis, explicates a multifaceted approach to the treatment of this fascinating yet often misunderstood condition, which involves the partitioning of the personality into part-selves that remain unaware of one another, usually the result of severely traumatic experiences. Howell begins with an explication of dissociation theory and research that includes the dynamic unconscious, trauma theory, attachment, and neuroscience. She then discusses the identification and diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) before moving on to outline a phase-oriented treatment plan, which includes facilitating a multileveled co-constructed therapeutic relationship, emphasizing the multiplicity of transferences, countertransferences, and kinds of potential enactments. She then expands the treatment possibilities to include dreamwork, before moving on to discuss the risks involved in the treatment of DID and how to mitigate them. All concepts and technical approaches are permeated with rich clinical examples.
Winner of the 2002 Gradiva Award Hailed as a turning point in psychoanalytic research in its first edition, this new edition will be relied on as a model for the integration of neuroscience and psychoanalysis. The authors have added a glossary of key terms to this edition to aid their introduction to depth neuropsychology.
Relational psychoanalysis has revivified psychoanalytic discourse by attesting to the analyst's multidimensional subjectivity and then showing how this subjectivity opens to deeper insights about the experience of analysis. Volume 3 of the Relational Psychoanalysis Book Series enlarges this ongoing project in significant ways. Here, leading relational theorists explore the cultural, racial, class-conscious, gendered, and even traumatized anlagen of the self as pathways to clinical understanding. Relational Psychoanalysis: New Voices is especially a forum for new relational voices and new idioms of relational discourse. Established writers, Muriel Dimen, Sue Grand, and Ruth Stein among them, utilize aspects of their own subjectivity to illuminate heretofore neglected dimensions of cultural experience, of trauma, and of clinical stalemate. A host of new voices applies relational thinking to aspects of race, class, and politics as they emerge in the clinical situation. The contributors to Relational Psychoanalysis: New Voices are boldly unconventional – in their topics, in their modes of discourse, and in their innovative and often courageous uses of self. Collectively, they convey the ever widening scope of the relational sensibility. The "relational turn" keeps turning.
First Published in 2011. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
Building on the success and importance of three previous volumes, Relational Psychoanalysis continues to expand and develop the relational turn. Under the keen editorship of Lewis Aron and Adrienne Harris, and comprised of the contributions of many of the leading voices in the relational world, Volume 5 carries on the legacy of this rich and diversified psychoanalytic approach by taking a fresh look at the progress in therapeutic process. Included here are chapters on transference and countertransference, engagement, dissociation and self-states, analytic impasses, privacy and disclosure, enactments, improvisation, development, and more. Thoughtful, capacious, and integrative, this new volume places the leading edge of relational thought close at hand, and pushes the boundaries of the relational turn that much closer to the horizon. Contributors: Lewis Aron, Anthony Bass, Beatrice Beebe, Philip Bromberg, Steven Cooper, Jody Messler Davies, Darlene Ehrenberg, Dianne Elise, Glen Gabbard, Adrienne Harris, Irwin Hoffman, Steven Knoblauch, Thomas Ogden, Spyros Orfanos, Stuart Pizer, Philip Ringstrom, Jill Salberg, Stephen Seligman, Joyce Slochower, Donnel Stern, Paul Wachtel.