Clinical psychoanalysis serves as our best laboratory for exploring the riddle of what it is to be a person, and how a person is at once singularly unique while always a piece of the interpersonal fabric of humanity. In Intimacy and Separateness in Psychoanalysis, Warren Poland casts a freshly erudite eye on this paradox, resisting individual or intersubjective bias and avoiding the parochial allegiances common in our age of pluralism.
Poland combines vivid reports from clinical analyses, literary readings, and his own life – all unfolding original observations on a person as both a part of and apart from human commonality. His consideration of how one person’s witnessing facilitates another’s self-definition, a concept extended here in his study of outsiderness as part of human nature, has been marked a keynote contribution. Clinical illustrations of moments that matter but are usually omitted from public presentation are set alongside examples of reading powerful fiction to show how analyst and author both incite fresh openness in a person’s mind. Poland goes farther, exposing the personal power of union and separateness in its keenest form, facing the ultimate separation of one’s own actual death.
Only with separateness can true intimacy grow, and only within the fabric of others can true individuality exist. This evocative book, ranging from the lightness of whimsy to the dread of dying, allows every reader a taste of and to learn from Poland’s thinking. Psychoanalyst or patient, writer or reader, each one living one’s own life – all can find new understandings in this work.
"This is no ordinary psychoanalytic book. It has no peer in the way it struggles to come to terms with the paradox of the essential otherness of people to one another despite all we hold in common. This book is also like no other psychoanalytic book in the way it draws on language as the custodian of our accrued experience as a civilization. What a pleasure it is when once in a great while we come across a book such as this one where we find ourselves pausing after reading a sentence, reading it several times before going on, or simply taking time to sit with its reverberations and echoes."-Thomas H. Ogden, author most recently of Reclaiming Unlived Life: Experiences in Psychoanalysis.
"I was moved to tears a number of times by this book, as Warren Poland cut through the psychoanalytic jargon and took the reader to the heart of what it is to be human---messy, vulnerable, mortal and incapable of living up to what we would like to be. Yet a form of hope emerges from his writing that I find downright inspiring. I will return to this book again and again."-Glen O. Gabbard, MD, author of Love and Hate in the Analytic Setting.
"Wisdom is a quality rarely encountered in life or literature, still more rarely in writings on psychoanalysis. Warren Poland has given us that rarest of gifts; a book rich in the wisdom that only a clinician of long experience, striking originality, and unique sensitivity to the paradoxes of our human condition could produce. This is a truly wonderful book, the culmination of Warren Poland's invaluable contributions to psychoanalysis."-Ted Jacobs, Clinical Professor,Emeritus, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Training and Supervising analyst, The New York and IPE Psychoanalytic Institutes.
"Warren Poland writes of analysis as contact between separate people, a contact that leads to change in both. In his writing he achieves a similar contact. He describes the psychoanalytic experience with such clarity and emotional depth that his words touch the reader as words in an analysis touch the other. This book is for all analysts, to be returned to again and again, both for the knowledge it contains and for the pleasure provided by his beautiful and accurate description of what actually takes place during psychoanalysis."-Judith Fingert Chused, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, George Washington University School of Medicine, Emeritus Training and Supervising Analyst, Washington Center for Psychoanalysis.
Table of Contents
PREFACE – NANCY CHODOROW;
INTRODUCTION – A FREEDOM OF MIND: WARREN POLAND IN WORD AND DEED – WILLIAM CORNELL
PART I: OPENING CONCLUSIONS
1) REGARDING THE OTHER
2) RATHER MY OWN SHORTCOMINGS
PART II THE PSYCHOANALYTIC SITUATION
3) THE ANALYST’S WITNESSING AND OTHERNESS
4) OUTSIDERNESS IN HUMAN NATURE
5) THE INTERPRETIVE ATTITUDE
6) THE ANALYST’S APPROACH AND THE PATIENT’S PSYCHIC GROWTH
7) THE ANALYST’S FEARS
PART III: CHALLENGES WITHIN THE PSYCHOANALYTIC PROCESS
8) PROBLEMS IN PLURALISM: NARCISSISM AND CURIOSITY
9) ON IMMEDIACY: "VIVID CONTRAST BETWEEN PAST AND PRESENT"
10) THE LIMITS OF EMPATHY
11) BEYOND BEDROCK: THE TRAP OF ABANDONING PSYCHOLOGY
12) OEDIPAL COMPLEXES, OEDIPAL SCHEMA
PART IV: BEYOND THE CLINICAL SETTING
13) READING FICTION AND THE PSYCHOANALYTIC EXPERIENCE: PROUST ON READING and ON READING PROUST
14) PSYCHOANALYSIS AND CULTURE
15) THE MIND BEYOND CONFLICT: WHIMSY 16) PATHOLOGIZING MENTAL PROCESSES: WHIMSY
PART V: ENDINGS IN POETRY, PSYCHOANALYSIS, AND LIFE
17) WHAT PLAY DID SHAKESPEARE WRITE WHEN HE WROTE TWELFTH NIGHT?
18) POLYMORPHOUSLY NORMAL SEXUALITY
19) EPHEMERA: UNFINISHED THOUGHTS ON PSYCHOANALYSIS, POETRY, ENDINGS, AND DEATH
20) SLOUCHING TOWARDS MORTALITY: THOUGHTS ON TIME AND DEATH
About the Author
Warren S. Poland, M.D., has practiced clinical psychoanalysis for over half a century. His observations and reflections, including in his early book Melting the Darkness: The Dyad and Principles of Clinical Technique, were honored by his receipt of the Sigourney Award in 2009. In personal essays, in considerations of literary works, and centrally in his clinical psychoanalytic studies, he explores the paradoxical simultaneity of intersubjectivity and individuality. He is also the former editor of the JAPA Review of Books.