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The Unconscious: A Contemporary Introduction
Joseph Newirth
Routledge / Softcover / Jun 2023
9780367525170 (ISBN-10: 0367525178)
price: $37.95
114 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

In The Unconscious: A Contemporary Introduction, Joseph Newirth presents a critical and comparative analysis of the unconscious and its evolution from a positivist to a postmodern frame of reference.

This book presents five theories, each of which offers different and important conceptualizations of the unconscious, and each of which contains a rich palate of ideas through which to approach clinical work. These psychoanalytic theories are thought of as spokes on a wheel emanating from the center of Freud's concept of the unconscious. In addition to presenting Freud's development of the unconscious, Newirth includes discussions of interpersonal/relational psychoanalysis; developmental approaches to the unconscious, including Kohut, Winnicott, and Fonagy; Kleinian approaches to the unconscious; and linguistic theories of the unconscious including Matte Blanco and Lacan. The last chapter illustrates the use of contemporary psychoanalytic concepts in the clinical work with a contemporary patient. The book encourages a comparative view of psychoanalytic theory and technique and aims to move to a more useful, generalizable concept of the unconscious for the contemporary patient.

This book will be of great interest to psychoanalysts, psychologists, and anyone interested in the evolution and application of the unconscious as a concept.


'The Unconscious: A Contemporary Introduction is a brilliant tour de force, erudite and written with seeming ease and in the clearest terms. In six concise chapters, Newith presents a cutting-edge overview of psychoanalysis as he introduces contemporary theories of and clinical approaches to the unconscious. Informative and clarifying, the volume draws in the reader at any level of professional development.'

Richard Billow, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, Adelphi University, USA

'In The Unconscious: Introduction to Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Dr. Newirth offers several updated perspectives on the concept of the unconscious and its’ relation to the practice of psychotherapy. Specifically he discusses a number of different dimensions of mental structures and the unconscious such as developmental, motivational, emotional, interpersonal, metaphorical and language factors. I believe the most significant feature of this volume is the synthesis of various theoretical writings with extensive clinical material as well examples in film and literature. This provides readers with a contemporary perspective on the concept of the unconscious and how they might better understand their clinical work with patients.'

Mark Hilsenroth, Professor, Adelphi University, USA

'Theoretically thought-provoking and clinically imaginative, Joseph Newirth’s consideration of the history, comparative formation and essential functioning of unconscious experience is a must read. Like a well-seasoned park ranger Newirth deeply appreciates the larger "eco-system" of analytic contributions- the old stands of classical wood, the relational and developmental clearings, the dense thickets of post-Kleinian thought. And while some of us might feel hesitant to take on such an ambitious project, it is clear that Newirth LOVES these woods: his enthusiasm beacons us onward. He nimbly guides us through a range of contributions including the work of Freud, Mitchell, Davies, Ogden, Klein, Kohut and Matte Blanco.

Newirth emphasizes the importance of an emerging pathway within psychoanalytic thinking, steadily refocusing our work on the creation of meaning in human life. Unconscious experience plays a central role in this process, not as holding "the repressed truth" but in its potential to transform linear, defined and singularly categorized human experience into something broader, richer and more varied, adding metaphoric depth and its accompanying complexity to lived experience.

For those who love theory, this text considers the necessarily multi-disciplinary landscape involved in a contemporary understanding of human mind, while at the same time offering intriguing and graspable imagery for a creative and expansive clinical engagement between patient and analyst.'

Margaret Black Mitchell LCSW, Psychoanalyst, International Association of Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

Table of Contents:

Introduction: The Ego is not Master in its Own House 1. The Evolution of Freud's theories of the Unconscious 2. The Unconscious in Interpersonal and Relational Psychoanalysis 3. Developmental Perspectives on the Unconscious 4. Kleinian Perspectives on the Unconscious 5. Language, Metaphor and the Unconscious 6. The Unconscious and the Contemporary Subject

About the Author:

Joseph Newirth is Professor Emeritus at the Gordon F. Derner School of Psychology, Adelphi University, USA. He is on the faculty of several psychoanalytic institutes and was the Director of the Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis at Adelphi University. His previous books received the Gradiva Prize (2004) and the American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis Book Prize (2019). He is currently in practice in New York City.

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