We are organized around the double coordinates of mind-body and self-other, says author Michael Eigen. The story of therapy is, in part, the story of how the unconscious sense of self-other and mind-body expands to allow a fuller, more open self to emerge
This volume centers around the therapies of two individuals. Lynn and Les came of age in the 1960s, and their inner beings were stamped with the turmoil and personalist sensibility of that era. As the ensuing years swept them on into careers, marriage and family, they felt a nagging sense that something was lacking. Their lives were full but disappointing.
Les and Lynn’s dissatisfaction is mirrored in the problems being experienced by many others of their generation. The cut-throat world of business in which Les operated and the bureaucratic school system of which Lynn was a part worked against expression and fulfillment of their personal values. They needed help in finding ways to pursue their careers and fashion productive lives that were congruent with who they felt they were. Without this help, they were in danger of losing what was most precious to them: their very sense of self was being corroded by destructive forces they could not cope with.
Unfolding on these pages is the story of how Les and Lynn struggled through the fears involved in initiating the changes necessary to reshape their lives and their selves into something they could affirm and believe in – something at once useful and fulfilling for themselves and their communities.
The therapist’s personal experience and reflections are very much a part of this book. Paralleling the accounts of the defining moments in Les’s and Lynn’s therapies are the author’s candid observations about what he felt at the time and what he feels now, many years later. In readable, engaging prose, the author examines the complex roles of therapist and therapy, including self-other and mind-body relations, the dramatic interplay of faith and catastrophe, primary process, and other elements of the psychotherapy process that allow one to experience the damaged self and move beyond it.
Reviews and Endorsements:
"Michael Eigen gives me so much in his writing -- his so direct use of ordinary English words to describe the deepest exploration into human experience. I constantly drop in on his books and always find them opening new vistas, as well as strengthening my grasp of established observations about unconscious processes. Reshaping the Self is readable for all who want to explore the unconscious. I love the jargon-free writing and his lovely, wide use of the English language, A splendid book!"
- Marion Milner, author of The Suppressed Madness of Sane Men
Chapter 1: Bits of the Processing Puzzle
Chapter 2: Defining Moments in Les's Therapy
Chapter 3: Key Stages in Lynn's Therapy
Chapter 4: Self-Other
Chapter 5: Mind-Body
Chapter 6: Faith and Catastrophe
Chapter 7: Primary Process and the Wound That Never Heals
About the Author:
Michael Eigen is a psychologist and psychoanalyst. He is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology in the Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis at New York University, and a Senior Member of the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. He is the author of a number of books, including Toxic Nourishment, The Psychoanalytic Mystic, Feeling Matters and Flames from the Unconscious.