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Playing and Vitality in Psychoanalysis
Giuseppe Civitarese and Antonino Ferro
Routledge / Softcover / Jul 2022
9781032245058 (ISBN-10: 1032245050)
reg price: $56.50 our price: $ 53.68 (may be subject to change)
192 pages
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Building on their long-lasting scientific partnership, Civitarese and Ferro offer an array of thought-provoking writings bolstered by extensive clinical material, attesting to their shared interpretation of psychoanalysis not only as a treatment for psychic suffering but also as inherently pleasurable and vitalizing.

In chapters that reflect inclinations, fantasies and obsessions that are both shared and personal, and by engaging with topics various enough to include dreams, ethics, emotions and aesthetics, the authors demonstrate how the practice of psychoanalysis might no longer be an insidiously moralistic or ideological exercise but rather a practice aimed at opening up and liberating the mind. By providing detailed engagement with the work of Bion and Ogden, as well as insights from their own substantial expertise, the authors explore how the synonymous concepts of playing and vitality can meaningfully inform and change clinical psychoanalytic practice.

With rich clinical material and a strong foundation in established theory, this book will appeal to psychoanalysts, psychoanalytic therapists and postgraduate students hoping to make more room in the psychoanalytic lexicon for words like pleasure, dreaming, creativity, hospitality and growth.


Written in an electrified poetic style that glitters and shivers and is drenched in intelligent and stimulating allusions, and peppered with striking images and insights, the new book by Antonino Ferro and Giuseppe Civitarese is nothing if not exciting and thought-provoking. The book conveys the liveliness and playfulness of the authors' approach to contemporary psychoanalysis and bravely presents challenges and reassessments of nuclear theoretical concepts. Playing and Vitality in Psychoanalysis crackles and sizzles and might well shake psychoanalysis to its very core. It is a rivetingly smart book.
— Elias M. da Rocha Barros, training analyst at the Brazilian Psychoanalytical Society of São Paulo and distinguished fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society and Institute

Playing and Vitality in Psychoanalysis is about field theory, but more importantly it is field theory--overbrimming with the characters and the stories and the plots and the angst and the pleasure--all of which is brought to life by a clarity of thinking that is rare in psychoanalysis today. One cannot read this book without being changed by it personally and professionally.
—Thomas Ogden, author most recently of Coming to Life in the Consulting Room (Routledge, 2021)

Antonino Ferro and Giuseppe Civitarese, playfully and with great vitality, lead us through the intimacy of their clinical practice. Through the numerous characters that circulate through the book, Ferro and Civitarese offer us a psychoanalytic reflection from a true aesthetic experience resulting from the very reading of the text. Several of Bion's and many other authors' ideas, such as the concept of the analytic field, come to life and are illustrated and deepened through the many clinical situations presented and through the authors' original reflections. Reading this book will certainly be a pleasant experience of pleasure, discovery, learning and enchantment.
—Ruggero Levy, member of the SPPA, Porto Alegre, Brasil

Table of Contents:

1. Dreams, transformations, deconstructions 2. Vitality as a theoretical and technical parameter in psychoanalysis 3. Attacks on linking, or uncontainability of beta elements? 4. On Bion's concept of container/contained 5. Divergences 6. The birth of the psyche and intercorporeity 7. Going for a stroll: The root of emotions 8. Towards an ethics of responsibility: Notes in the margins of Bion/Rickman correspondence 9. Freud's Formulations on the two principles of mental functioning: A possibly irreverent comment 10. Ogden's parentheses, or the continuity between conscious and unconscious experience 11. Reality and fictions: people (story), internal objects (unconscious fantasies), characters (casting) 12. Internet and simultaneous life 13. The pleasure of the analytic session 14. Aesthetics and writing in psychoanalysis

About the Authors:

Giuseppe Civitarese is a psychiatrist and training and supervising analyst of the Italian Psychoanalytic Society (SPI) and a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association. He lives and is in private practice in Pavia, Italy. He is the editor of the Rivista di Psicoanalisi, the official journal of the SPI.

Antonino Ferro is a psychiatrist and training and supervising analyst in the Italian Psychoanalytic Society, of which he was President, and a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the International Psychoanalytical Association. He has been a visiting professor of psychoanalysis in variou institutions in Europe, North Amerca, South America and Australia. He received the Sigourney Award in 2007.

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other lists
Interesting Reading List for July 14/22
John's list of Psychoanalysis in 2021
July 2022 New Arrivals
Psychoanalytic Field Theory Book Series