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Life Studies in Psychoanalysis: Faces of Love
Sandra Sherman
Routledge / Softcover / Mar 2023
9781032403434 (ISBN-10: 1032403438)
price: $49.50 (may be subject to change)
208 pages
Not in Stock, usually ships in 3-4 weeks

Life Studies in Psychoanalysis consists of four psychoanalytic studies each representing a patient’s course of treatment over several years.

These studies demonstrate how love, in an array of forms, is refracted through the process of psychoanalysis, which unfolds over time and reveals the complexities of human desire. The cases presented here cover topics including repressed homosexuality, a taboo desire for a sibling, obsession with a fantasy, an Oedipus complex, and transferences that become an initial obstacle to treatment. Dr. Ahron Friedberg offers professionals techniques for encouraging patients to remain in treatment when they become resistant, demoralized, or feel like they have hit a wall. As the studies proceed, each renders the non-linear progress of treatment, as layer upon layer of a patient’s issues are brought to light and the patient slowly, often reluctantly, comes to terms with these issues.

Life Studies in Psychoanalysis will be of great interest to psychoanalysts in practice and in training, psychoanalytic psychotherapists and readers looking for insight into the analytic process.


"Love entails two intense, simultaneous states: feelings of attachment, delight, and solicitude towards another person, as well as lust and sexuality. ?The? myriad combinations and permutations of these states – what Dr. Friedberg calls "faces" – are analyzed with insight and empathy in his fourth book, Faces of Love. The book includes dramatic case studies of four of his patients, who journey with him towards ameliorating the fears, fantasies, obsessions, and resistances that prevent them from achieving satisfying relationships. Faces is not only fascinating, but it provides an essential perspective on contemporary modes of psychoanalytic treatment." - Henry Lothane, MD, DLFAPA, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

"Anyone longing to better understand how a psychoanalytic analytic mind works will love the wonderfully creative mind of Dr. Ahron Friedberg, as he delves deeply into the phases of his work with four psychoanalytic patients; each case is a pointillistic painting of the many faces of desire and love in myriad forms that unfold over time in treatment. In so doing, Dr. Friedberg captures the essence of psychoanalysis itself and the way treatment addresses the complexities of human desires, longings and love." - Susan C. Vaughan, MD, Director, Columbia Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.

"Ever since Freud, case studies have been the lifeblood of psychoanalytic writing. Yet who can write as engagingly as Freud, the winner of the Goethe Prize in literature? Now Ahron Friedberg does, in Faces of Love. He reminds us of Paul Dewald’s pathbreaking, book-length account of an analysis, demonstrating the lurching, yet reparative paths towards health in treatment. His book richly elaborates on love, and includes not only Plato’s taxonomy —sexual, awe-struck, playful, self-love, familial—but also love’s apparent opposite, "hate," which can infiltrate treatment itself. We embark on a fraught journey with Dr. Friedberg and his patients. But we are fortunate to observe as he navigates the troubled waters of inner life." - Nathan Szajnberg, M.D. Formerly Sigmund Freud Professor, the Hebrew University

"One of the biggest challenges for any psychoanalyst is to write about his clinical work so as to allow the reader to picture of such a complex, fascinating job. This is what Ahron Friedberg does so well as he engages with these patients’ troubled approaches to love. We see how the analyst finds a common wave length, and the best possible theoretical framework in the work he does with each patient, thus profiting from the pluralistic dimension of contemporary psychoanalysis. This allows Friedberg to come as close as possible to the interactive reality of our work – what our patients say, what comes to our mind, and what we tell them. It is as if the reader were in the room with analyst and patient – and, simultaneously, in the analyst’s head. We see how psychoanalytic work can still change patients’ lives in a way in that no other form of psychotherapy." - Marco Conci, M.D., Coeditor-in-chief, International Forum of Psychoanalysis

"Faces of Love is an astonishing work. Reading it feels like you’re in Dr. Friedberg’s actual consulting room with patients. It reminds me of case studies by Freud, Winnicott, Kohut and other luminaries in our field. Its real-time, present-tense unfolding of psychoanalytic cases allows readers to reflect on different facets of love, and the concomitant complexities of human nature. Even with all our faults and flaws, the facets of Faces shine as in a gem." - Heather Berlin, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof., Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine

"Dr. Friedberg’s Faces of Love is an extraordinary, original contribution to the literature of case studies of psychoanalysis. It is more present to what actually happens in the psychoanalytic situation than any that I know. By using love as the lens through which to view our clinical work, he identifies and develops an essential element of that work which, until now, has received insufficient attention as we advance the field as a science. Dr. Friedberg demonstrates his clinical mastery, empathy, and ability to capture the therapeutic process in writing." - Harold Bronheim, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai

Table of Contents:




Chapter I – A Complex Oedipus Complex

Chapter II – The Little Match Girl

Chapter III – Gatsby

Chapter IV – Reluctance



About the Authors:

Ahron Friedberg, M.D., is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and served twice as past president of the American Society of Psychoanalytic Physicians. He is editor of American Academy of Psychodynamic Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis Academy Forum and book editor of Psychodynamic Psychiatry, as well as a regular contributor to Psychology Today.

Sandra Sherman, J.D., Ph.D., was a Senior Attorney in the U.S. government and a professor of English at two major universities. She is the author of four books and over 60 peer-reviewed articles on 18th century Literature and culture and is co-author of several books on neuroscience. Currently, she is a principal at Child’sPlay International. Life Studies in Psychoanalysis is the fourth book that she has written with Dr. Friedberg.

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