Galdi, G. (2015). Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the American Journal of Psychoanalysis. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(3), pp. 241–243.
We continue our year-long celebration in the issues of the 75th Volume, and I would like to recall the words of William Silverberg, the first president of the Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (AAP) (Silverberg, 2015, p. 229). On September 24, 1941, just four months after the establishment of the AAP and the American Journal of Psychoanalysis (AJP), Silverberg delivered his first presidential address at the New York Academy of Medicine. In his address, Silverberg (1942) talked about the missions of the AAP. “The cardinal principle by which we shall be guided is our firm conviction in the worth and dignity of the human individual […] that each of us should and can acknowledge a fundamental validity in the other, and thereby acknowledge that the other has certain rights which all must respect and which all must guarantee will be respected.” (Silverberg, 1942, p. 21, italics added)…
Akhtar, S. (2015). Some Psychoanalytic Reflections on the Concept of Dignity. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(3), pp. 244–266.
Abstract: After reviewing the pertinent philosophical and psychoanalytic writings on the concept of dignity, this paper proposes three categories of dignity. Conceptualized as phenomenological clusters, heuristic viewpoints, and levels of abstraction, these include (i) metaphysical dignity which extends the concept of dignity beyond the human species to all that exists in this world, (ii) existential dignity which applies to human beings alone and rests upon their inherent capacity for moral transcendence, and (iii) characterological dignity which applies more to some human beings than others since they possess a certain set of personality traits that are developmentally derived. The paper discusses the pros and cons of each category and acknowledges the limitations of such classification. It also discusses the multiple ways in which these concepts impact upon clinical work and concludes with some remarks on the relationship of dignity to choice, narcissism, and suicide.
Prince, R. M. (2015). The Holocaust after 70 years: Holocaust Survivors in the United States. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(3), pp. 267–286.
Abstract: Over 70 years, there have been different narratives of the Holocaust survivors coming to the United States. Survivors’ stories begin with an event of major historical significance. Difficulties in conceptualizing historical trauma, along with common distortions and myths about Holocaust survivors and their children are examined. This article proposes that it is impossible to discuss the consequences of extreme suffering without consideration of historical meaning and social context with which they are entwined. The evolution of the social representation of the Holocaust and the contradictions in clinical attributions to survivors and their children with consideration of the future is described.
Boulanger, C. (2015). Seeing Double, Being Double: Longing, Belonging, Recognition, and Evasion in Psychodynamic Work with Immigrants. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(3), pp. 287–303.
Abstract: Psychically, immigrants live double lives, simultaneously dwelling in the world they have left and the world in which they live, and into which most try to fit to avoid the alienating experience of being “other”. Doubleness is not a conscious act, but it is a preconscious counterpoint to just about every social interaction. I argue that successful psychodynamic treatment allows immigrants to take the doubleness for granted, in effect seeing double and being double. In this way they come to effortlessly privilege one self-state over the other. The recognition and acceptance of competing self-states proves transformative in any treatment, but never more so than in working with immigrants who contend with several culturally competing selves in their daily lives and seek one relationship in which they can all be seen and heard. I describe treating an immigrant who, when I began to work with her, excelled at seeing double, but being double posed a terrifying dilemma. At least two self-states were engaged in a tug of war; she feared that the winner would take all.
Pestre, E. (2015). Giving Birth in Exile: Motherhood as Reterritorialization. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(3), pp. 304–319.
Abstract: This paper explores the effects of exile on the subjectivity of pregnant migrant women through the lens of the processes of deterritorialization and reterritorialization. Having escaped the gaze of the parental superego, the subject’s encounter with sexuality becomes possible. However, in addition to the emancipatory aspects of migration, we observe particular somatic-psychical effects on reproductive ability. These “exile” pregnancies are generally experienced as difficult and painful, laying bare a symptomatology that is as much psychical as somatic, and which highlights the cost of a desire for independence. In this context, where perinatal risks must be evaluated and treated through an interdisciplinary approach, a clinical accompaniment proves to be indispensable for the maternity to progress smoothly on foreign soil.
Bacciagaluppi, M. (2015). Arieti and Bowlby: Convergence and Direct Influence. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(3), pp. 320–332.
Abstract: Arieti was a great specialist of schizophrenia and Bowlby was the initiator of attachment theory. Working independently on the two sides of the Atlantic, they converged on a range of topics, such as evolutionary theory, mourning, trauma, violence, and therapy as art and science. Later, Bowlby exerted a direct influence on Arieti, which Arieti acknowledged in his Love Can Be Found. Finally, the two authors cooperated in the second edition of the American Handbook of Psychiatry.
Danielian, J. (2015). Book Review. Cyclical Psychodynamics and the Contextual Self: The Inner World, the Intimate World, and the World of Culture and Society by Paul L. Wachtel. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(3), pp. 333–335.
Paul Wachtel’s most recent book, Cyclical Psychodynamics and the Contextual Self, represents a summation on many levels. Wachtel has been contributing to progressive experience-near thinking in psychoanalysis since the early 70s. This text summarizes virtually his entire corpus of work. Of course it is no mere summation. It integrates many related facets of his thinking from epistemology, clinical psychology, psychoanalysis, relational theory, cyclical dynamics, and the clinical issues of inequality and injustice…
Vida, J. E. (2015). Book Review. Living Psychoanalysis: From Theory to Experience by Michael Parsons. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(3), pp. 335–338.
Michael Parsons is a key member of the Group of Independent Psychoanalysts within the British Psychoanalytic Society, an inspiring teacher, and a clinician of rare poetics, inventiveness, and humility. He has assembled a library of lived experience, both within the field and without, which nourishes and informs his “internal analytic setting” (p. 153 ff), a hallmark concept emerging from seminars he led with a colleague to encourage the fledgling autonomy of newly qualified analysts. This is his second book, drawing upon papers and lectures of the last decade or so; it follows the format of an earlier volume (Parsons, 2000a). Taken together, both books chart his professional journey over some 30 years (Parsons, 1986)…
Friedman, H. J. (2015). Book Review. Forgiveness in Intimate Relationships: A Psychoanalytic Perspective by Shahrzad Siassi. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(3), pp. 338–341.
Books by psychoanalysts meant to reach a broader reading public usually have titles that promise insight into subjects like love, power, fantasy and feelings. While written by individuals with knowledge of psychoanalytic theory, they usually avoid forays into theory by removing psychoanalytic jargon and technical language. In her book, Forgiveness in Intimate Relationships, Shahrzad Siassi has taken a subject that sounds like it will be treated as an examination of a general phenomenon for the educated reader, a more or less popular “trade book.” While this may be what readers will expect they will instead find a thoroughly psychoanalytic examination of forgiveness that is based upon the author’s psychoanalytic perspective, a perspective that brilliantly synthesizes a number of psychoanalytic theories. Her writing is clear and convincing as she builds a picture of how in her psychoanalytic work she has come to conclude that in a successful psychoanalysis forgiveness leads to the needed re-establishment of internalized objects particularly when the historical conditions of relatedness prior to a disappointment or narcissistic injury have been met…
Bacciagaluppi M. (2015). Book Review. The Radical Humanism of Erich Fromm by Kieran Durkin. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(3), pp. 341–343.
As a great admirer of Erich Fromm, I am gratified to see that, after many years of neglect in the English-speaking world, there is a renewed interest in this author, as testified by the appearance of several books on him. I recently (Bacciagaluppi, 2013) reviewed a book by Friedman, whose main emphasis was biographical. This new book by Kieran Durkin describes Fromm’s outlook as “radical humanism.” This book is most timely in calling attention to this facet of Fromm’s work, because, as the author states in the Introduction, the present intellectual climate is chiefly opposed to the essentialist notion of a nature of man and of its unfolding in the course of history. The book is also very scholarly. In addition to examining Fromm’s published works, it also makes use of unpublished material, such as correspondence and recordings, contained in the Fromm Archives in Tübingen, and placed at the author’s disposal by Rainer Funk, Fromm’s literary executor…
Platt, C. M. (2015). Book Review. The Possible Profession: The Analytic Process of Change by Theodore J. Jacobs. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(3), pp. 343–345.
“You Are There” was a popular television show in the 1950’s that allowed the viewer to go back in time and imagine what it would have been like to be present at an earlier seminal moment in history. There was a contemporary guide who accompanied you on this time travel. Ted Jacobs is just such a guide for us into the history of ideas and people who have shaped psychoanalytic theory in the United States. Jacobs’ own ideas marinated in the milieu of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute where he has been active since he joined in 1967. Many of the most prominent immigrant European psychoanalysts found a home there, such as Kris, Lowenstein, Hartmann, Jacobson, and Eissler, all of whom inspired his desire to deepen his knowledge of psychoanalysis as they simultaneously demonstrated how their knowledge of literature, history, and the arts enriched their wisdom. While he admired their brilliance, Jacobs also chafed at their rigid adherence to ego psychological orthodoxy…
Waska, R. (2015). Book Review. Emotional Communication: Countertransference Analysis and the Use of Feeling in Psychoanalytic Technique by Paul Geltner. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(3), pp. 345–348.
The counter-transference is a vital aspect of all therapeutic encounters so any book that explores this phenomenon is a welcome and potentially important contribution. In reading Emotional Communication: Countertransference Analysis and the Use of Feeling in Psychoanalytic Technique, I found it to be both impressive and disappointing. The author presents a scholarly set of theoretical constructs and provides complex and comprehensive reasoning to justify each subset of his new approach…
Cohen M. (2015). Book Review. The Awakened Ones: Phenomenology of Visionary Experience by Gananath Obeysekere. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(3), pp. 348–350.
Gananath Obeysekere, who is currently professor emeritus of anthropology at Princeton University, began his academic career as an anthropologist in Sri Lanka, where he was born. Most of his previous work has been in-depth and detailed anthropological study of the indigenous people of Southeast Asia, often focusing on religious practices. In books such as The Medusa’s Hair: An Essay on Personal Symbols and Religious Experience and The Work of Culture: Symbolic Transformation in Psychoanalysis and Anthropology, he has delineated how culture and individual psychodynamics intertwine in the religious experiences of individuals, most of whom would be very unfamiliar to most of us…