These lively conversations provide a unique insight into the mind of one of the most original psychoanalysts of our century. The various subjects covered here spread over a wide range of interest, which Michael Eigen talks about with a rich and almost ecstatic flow. Eigen’s writing so closely resembles his talking that a conversation book is almost necessary. The author’s hope is that it will enable readers to enter the ideas of Eigen more directly than she or he could have via Eigen’s books and papers.
Michael Eigen is a psychologist and psychoanalyst as well as a senior member and training analyst with the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. He is also Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology and supervisor for the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. His other books include Damaged Bonds (Karnac 2001), Rage (2002), The Electrified Tightrope (Karnac 2004) and Feeling Matters (Karnac, 2007).
Aner Govrin is a clinical psychologist, a lecturer at The General and Interdisciplinary Studies at Bar Ilan University and a member of Tel-Aviv Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis.
"Eigen has always lived in his prose in an immediate, intimate, and intense way. To read him is almost a ‘real time’ experience. Now we have these conversations and Aner Govrin’s and Eigen’s conversations bring Eigen into an even more vivid presence. The conversations are wide ranging, theory-deep, and clinically acute (The supervisions are brilliant). Above all, this book is just so much fun to read. How often do we have this kind of pleasure in our field? Read it, buy extra copies, and do give it to friends as a gift, for that is what this lovely book is."
-- Christopher Bollas, author of The Freudian Moment
“With this exciting volume readers will get to experience Michael Eigen as I along with many others have known him since my early days of training: a person of rare wisdom, courage and heart, who helps us to feel it's worth it to struggle with the most painful areas of destruction, uncertainty, love and hate, because even when we fail we are learning. Although Eigen's writings have always had the ability to both strip down and expand the use of the language to evoke experience rather than merely report it, his uniquely personal form of expression shines forth in these pages as we hear him speak to his inspired interlocutor, Aner Govrin. What I have always valued in Eigen's way of doing and writing psychoanalysis is that he shows how this work can engage the full range of our hearts and minds, that it is possible to do it with authenticity balanced by humility, and with a deep intellectual commitment to our rich tradition of complex theory. How fortunate to experience with him the richness and danger of psychic life while being reminded of the excitement of great ideas, the living myths and symbols of intellectual and religious life. These conversations give everyone the chance to encounter the mind of a brilliantly creative thinker who believes that the point is not merely to think but to "give experience a chance"—to give each person a chance to enter a mental space that may not be risk-free, but which encompasses a full spectrum of the human in which little if anything is alien. As we listen to Eigen speak we have a new sense of how this radical commitment to experience can bend and make supple all the endless debated categories of psychoanalysis and illuminate the great stakes of life-in-truth versus deadness.”
-- Jessica Benjamin, psychoanalytic supervisor and faculty member, New York University Postdoctoral Psychology Program in Psychoanalysis
”Over the past two decades, Mike Eigen has emerged as the most astonishing voice in psychoanalytic discourse. Inspired by Winnicott, Bion and Lacan, but with the candor of Freud, he has bravely and consistently revealed himself in his writing, displaying for his readers the inner life of the therapist even as he pushes theory and therapy into the new millennium. In this book, Eigen guides us through the twists and turns of his own thought. It is at once an introduction to and a summation of his vast oeuvre, an invaluable contribution to Eigen's long-standing sense of the analytic mission: the nasty business of finding oneself.”
-- Mark Epstein, M.D., author of Thoughts without a Thinker and Psychotherapy without the Self