Recipient of the Canadian Psychological Association's Goethe Award
This acclaimed clinical guide and widely adopted text has filled a key need in the field since its original publication. Nancy McWilliams makes psychoanalytic personality theory and its implications for practice accessible to practitioners of all levels of experience. She explains major character types and demonstrates specific ways that understanding the patient's individual personality structure can influence the therapist's focus and style of intervention. Guidelines are provided for developing a systematic yet flexible diagnostic formulation and using it to inform treatment. Highly readable, the book features a wealth of illustrative clinical examples.
New to This Edition:
• Reflects the ongoing development of the author's approach over nearly two decades.
• Incorporates important advances in attachment theory, neuroscience, and the study of trauma.
• Coverage of the contemporary relational movement in psychoanalysis.
"If a 'charming textbook' seems like an oxymoron, then welcome to Nancy McWilliams's Psychoanalytic Diagnosis. Her book is just such a wonder....McWilliams has succeeded in producing a book for initial learning that will remain on her readers' desks as a frequently thumbed manual."
-Psychoanalytic Books (on the first edition)
"Thanks to McWilliams's excellent book, those of us who teach or supervise can at last offer our students and supervisees a comprehensive, exceptionally well-organized text on diagnosis, grounded in evolving psychoanalytic theory and focused on linking diagnosis to the appropriate therapeutic response....Experienced therapists will enjoy a thorough 'refresher' course while also absorbing new ideas, and less experienced clinicians will gain a solid structural foundation and essential guidelines for their clinical work."
-Contemporary Psychology (on the first edition)
“This essential text is highly useful to all practitioners of any theoretical orientation….[McWilliams's] writing style is much like she describes her therapy sessions….Her personal sharing gives the text a soul and you feel you are with a warm and wise teacher….This text [is] as enjoyable as it is enlightening….It goes into great detail about personality organization, defensive functioning, and character styles and describes how they impact treatment.”
“With humor, warmth, and enthusiasm, Dr. McWilliams instills confidence while making the book a delectable read. There is no doubt that the goal of 'enhancing practice' has been achieved. This book is highly recommended to any clinician-in-training as a foundation for psychoanalytic thinking and also to any practicing therapist as a well-structured and comprehensive resource....This book will be a rich addition to learning about psychoanalytic diagnosis (and psychoanalytic concepts) for any younger mental health professional who is seriously interested in depth psychology. It will also be a valuable tool for more experienced clinicians and educators who would like assistance in translating fairly complex concepts into language that can be appreciated by learners of a variety of different levels of sophistication and disciplinary backgrounds.”
—Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
"In revising Psychoanalytic Diagnosis, McWilliams has surpassed herself. The original-deservedly regarded as a classic-was an integrative tour de force; the second edition is even better. Informed by current advances in neuroscience and infant research, and reshaped in light of the 'relational turn' in contemporary psychoanalysis, this book distills a vast literature on development, psychopathology, and therapy into an extraordinarily useful map of the clinical terrain. It is at once an indispensable resource for beginning therapists, a valuable teaching tool, and a comprehensive reference for seasoned clinicians."
-David J. Wallin, PhD, private practice, Mill Valley and Albany, California
"This is a book for all clinicians who aspire to understand their clients deeply and help them live more richly and authentically. McWilliams synthesizes a century of cumulative clinical wisdom and offers it in a form that is accessible and useful to clinicians of any theoretical persuasion. The first edition of Psychoanalytic Diagnosis was an instant classic; the second edition is exceptionally lucid and masterful. This is McWilliams, master clinician and teacher, at her very best."
-Jonathan Shedler, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine
"In this accessible and impassioned book, McWilliams provides organizing principles to help us understand psychopathology without oversimplifying or evading the difficult questions raised by diagnosis. Reading McWilliams's book will make you feel like you know her. Her extraordinary humanity, wisdom, deep sense of ethics, and steady concern for her patients are evident throughout. The second edition includes an updated presentation of attachment theory, addresses the contributions of relational theory and neuroscience research, and integrates a contemporary understanding of somatization and defense. A 'must read' for every clinician in training."
-Joyce A. Slochower, PhD, Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, New York University
I. Conceptual Issues
1. Why Diagnose?
2. Psychoanalytic Character Diagnosis
3. Developmental Levels of Personality Organization
4. Implications of Developmental Levels of Organization
5. Primary Defensive Processes
6. Secondary Defensive Processes
II. Types of Character Organization
7. Psychopathic (Antisocial) Personalities
8. Narcissistic Personalities
9. Schizoid Personalities
10. Paranoid Personalities
11. Depressive and Manic Personalities
12. Masochistic (Self-Defeating) Personalities
13. Obsessive and Compulsive Personalities
14. Hysterical (Histrionic) Personalities
15. Dissociative Psychologies
Appendix. Suggested Diagnostic Interview Format
About the Author:
Nancy McWilliams, PhD, ABPP, teaches psychoanalytic theory and therapy at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey. A 1978 graduate of the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis, she also teaches at the Institute for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy of New Jersey, the National Training Program in Contemporary Psychotherapy, the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California, and the Minnesota Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalytic Studies. She has lectured throughout the United States and in Canada, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, Greece, Turkey, Australia, and New Zealand. Dr. McWilliams has a private practice in psychoanalysis, psychodynamic therapy, and supervision in Flemington, New Jersey. She is the author of Psychoanalytic Diagnosis: Understanding Personality Structure in the Clinical Process and Psychoanalytic Case Formulation, as well as articles and book chapters on personality, psychopathology, psychotherapy, altruism, sexuality, and gender.