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On Being Normal and Other Disorders: A Manual for Clinical Psychodiagnostics
Paul Verhaeghe
Routledge (London: Karnac Books) / Softcover / Dec 2008
9781855756885 (ISBN-10: 1855756889)
reg price: $80.50 our price: $ 76.48 (may be subject to change)
528 pages
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The central argument of On Being Normal and Other Disorders is that psychic identity is acquired through one's primary intersubjective relationships. Thus, the diagnosis of potential pathologies must also be founded on this relation. Given that the efficacy of all forms of treatment depends upon the therapeutic relation, a diagnostic of this sort has wide-ranging applications. The author's critical evaluation of the contemporary DSM-diagnostic shows that the lack of reference to and governing metapsychology impinges on the therapeutic value of the DSM categories. In response to this problem, the author sketches out the foundations of such a metapsychology by combining a Freudo-Lacanian approach with contemporary empirical research. Close attention is paid to the processes of identity acquisition to show how the self and the Other are not two separate entities. Rather, subject formation is seen as a process in which both the subject's and the Other's identity, as well as the relationship between them, comes into being.


"A major achievement from a major scholar. For the first time (to my knowledge) it opens a discourse between the intellectual sparkle of Lacanian psychoanalytic scholarship and the far more pedestrian Anglo-American tradition of psychodynamic clinical science. In integrating these approaches a new domain opens up that may take decades and generations of psychoanalytic researchers to fully explore. This book is an outstanding overview of the highest quality Lacanian thinking, creating a firm bridge between two forms of psychoanalytic theorization that have for too long been separated by inadequate understanding." -Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., F.B.A.

"The themes of his book are real and urgent: they bear directly on everyday forms of suffering….Invaluable for anyone seeking an account of the relations of psychoanalysis to psychiatry; the clarity of the style with which he presents is a rarity."
-Bernard Burgoyne, Institute of Health and Social Research, Middlesex University

"This book will be a point of reference for both researchers and clinicians for many years to come." -Dr. Rik Loose, Head of Unit of Psychoanalysis, DBS School of Arts, Dublin

Table of Contents:

Preface -- Diagnostics and Discourse -- Introduction: Clinical Psychodiagnostics versus Medical Diagnostics -- Categorical Diagnostics versus Clinical Praxis: A Matter of Impossibility -- The Impotence of Epistemology -- Know-how in Clinical Practice: Doxa as the Result of Impotence and Impossibility -- Conclusion: The Need for a Metapsychology -- Metapsychology -- Identity as a Relational Structure -- Defense in Double Time: A Linear Model -- From a Linear to a Circular Model: On Becoming a Subject -- Etiology and Evolution: Nature, Nurture, and the Theory of the Drive -- Conclusion: The Subject’s Position in Relation to Anxiety, Guilt, and Depression -- Positions and Structures of the Subject -- The Actualpathological Position: Panic Disorder and Somatization -- Between Actualpathology and Psychopathology: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Borderline -- The Psychopathological Position of the Subject: Hysteria and Obsessional Neurosis -- Perverse Structure versus Perverse Traits -- The Psychotic Structure of the Subject -- Conclusion: Diagnosis and Treatment

About the Author:

Paul Verhaeghe is professor of clinical psychology and psychoanalysis at the University of Ghent in Belgium, and is also in private practice. He is the author of Narcissus in Mourning, Love in a Time of Loneliness, and What about Me?: the struggle for identity in a marked-based society . The American edition of On Being Normal and Other Disorders (2002) was awarded the Goethe Prize. David Shaw works as a journalist for Germany's international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, as well as translating from several languages, including German, Dutch, Russian, and French. He lives in Berlin.

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