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De-Idealizing Relational Theory: A Critique From Within
Edited by Lewis Aron (1952-2019), Sue Grand, and Joyce A. Slochower
Routledge / Softcover / Jun 2018
9781138080164 (ISBN-10: 1138080160)
Relational / Interpersonal Psychoanalysis
reg price: $66.50 our price: $ 59.85
240 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

Self-examination and self-critique: for psychoanalytic patients, this is the conduit to growth. Yet within the field, psychoanalysts haven’t sufficiently utilized their own methodology or subjected their own preferred approaches to systematic and critical self-examination. Across theoretical divides, psychoanalytic writers and clinicians have too often responded to criticism with defensiveness rather than reflectivity. This book is a first in the history of psychoanalysis; it takes internal dissension and difference seriously rather than defensively.

De-Idealizing Relational Theory attempts to rectify this for the Relational field. Rather than saying that the other’s reading of relational theory is wrong, distorted, or a misrepresentation, this book is interested in querying how theory lends itself to such characterizations. How have psychoanalysts participated in conveying this portrayal to their critics? Might this dissension illuminate blind-spot(s) and highlight new areas of growth?

The editors bring together some of the best minds in contemporary relational and intersubjective psychoanalysis to engage in internal critique. These are loving and appreciative appraisals, but also ask pointed questions, including:

What are the limitations of relational psychoanalysis?
How might relational analysts make use of assessments of their approach by those of other theoretical orientations?
Where and how might relational analysts integrate the thinking of others?
How might theories of origin be recalled?
Each chapter critically assesses and examines aspects of relational theory and technique, considers its current state and its relations to other psychoanalytic approaches. De-Idealizing Relational Theory will appeal to all relational psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists.


"Born as a vibrant and radical reaction to the perceived deficiencies and rigidities of classical theory, relational theory has now grown and matured to the point where it can begin to re-examine the biases inherent in the way it developed. In this unique book, some of the best relational minds engage in a self-examination of their theory, a loving self-critique designed to reveal both its limits and its potential. The book is a major contribution to our understanding of relational theory and it will be fascinating to psychoanalysts of all theoretical persuasions."-Sheldon Bach, Ph.D., Adjunct Clinical Professor, New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis.

Table of Contents

Introduction Lewis Aron, Sue Grand, and Joyce Slochower 1. Going too far: Relational heroines and relational excess Joyce Slochower 2. The emergence of the relational tradition: Lewis Aron interviews Jay Greenberg Jay Greenberg & Lewis Aron 3. Relational psychoanalysis and its discontents Emanuel Berman 4. Forms of equality in relational psychoanalysis David Mark 5. Needed analytic relationships and the disproportionate relational focus on enactments Steve Stern 6. Inaction and Puzzlement as Interaction: Keeping Attention in Mind Stephen Seligman 7. The analyst’s private space: Spontaneity, ritual, psychotherapeutic action, and self-care Ken Corbett 8. The unobtrusive relational analyst and psychoanalytic companioning Robert Grossmark 9. The things we carry: Finding/creating the object and the analyst’s self-reflective participation Steven Cooper 10. Relational theory in socio-historical context: Implications for technique Lynne Layton

About the Editors

Lewis Aron, Ph.D., is the director of the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. He is the author and editor of numerous articles and books on psychotherapy and psychoanalysis and well known for his study and reading groups around the world. His most recent book, co-authored with Galit Atlas, is the Routledge title Dramatic Dialogue: Contemporary Clinical Practice.

Sue Grand is faculty at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She is the author of The Reproduction of Evil: A Clinical and Cultural Perspective and The Hero in the Mirror, and co-edited two books on the trans-generational transmission of trauma. She practices in NYC and in Teaneck, NJ.

Joyce A. Slochower is Professor Emerita at Hunter College and Graduate Center, the City University of New York. She is on the Faculty of the New York University Postdoctoral Program, the Steven Mitchell Center, the National Training Program of NIP, the Philadelphia Center for Relational Studies, and the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California in San Francisco. She is the author of Holding and Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Collisions. She is in private practice in New York City.

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