Miller, I. S. (2018). Reading Willy Wonka in the Era of Anti-Thinking. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 78(2), pp. 113–125.
Abstract: Whether encountered as a movie or novel, Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a childhood staple of postwar Anglophone culture. Originally published in 1964, Dahl’s story of “Willie Wonka” is a morality tale for our times addressed by the present essay in relation to the precariousness, violence, intergenerational faith, and materialist fantasies reflective of contemporary life in the early twenty-first century. Compensating for the precarity of contemporary life’s impoverishment as assumptions of societal stability are overthrown, this chronicle of the Bucket family details: envious desire validated by large group chosen trauma; authoritarian enslavement of inferior, colonized peoples with murderous, industrial-level human experimentation; toward gratification of the greedy fantasy of unlimited sweetness under the sway of lethal identification with the aggressor.
Molofsky, M. (2018). Elia Kazan’s America America: a Message for America. American Journal of Pychoanalysis, 78(2), pp. 126–136.
Abstract: Elia Kazan’s 1963 film, America America is a tribute to the immigrant experience of his own forebears, and has relevance to the refugee crisis of today. In stark black and white cinematography, the film provides insight into the refugee-immigrant experience, personified in Stavros, a young man longing for freedom, obsessed with an idealized America. His hope and innocence cannot safeguard him. His memories of his happy childhood and loving family create idealizing transferences to a world of others who manipulate and betray him as he undertakes his quest. Eventually he too learns to manipulate and betray, unconsciously identifying with the aggressor. History will offer ethical challenges, the black and white cinematography mirroring the black and white perception of good and bad, the shades of grey evoking a maturation of understanding.
Hess, E. (2018). Authority, Psychotherapy and the Authority of the Therapist in the Religious Haredi Community. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 78(2), pp. 137–158.
Abstract: This article considers the meaning and significance of authority, and its relevance to the transference process, within the framework of psychotherapy in the orthodox Jewish (Haredi) community in Israel. In this community, deeply-rooted habits of obedience to the commandments of the Torah and the authority of the Rabbi are integral to maintaining an orthodox way of life. Clinical vignettes with Haredi patients are presented to illustrate the complexities that arise when both patient and therapist belong to the orthodox community, and highlight the authority-related issues that are central to the therapy. This combination of factors requires a sensitive and finely-tuned approach which will enable the therapist to maintain the treatment framework while still accommodating the orthodox way of life.
Stromberg, D. (2018). Good and Bad: Love and Intimacy from Plato to Melanie Klein. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 78(2), pp. 159–181.
Abstract: Melanie Klein’s theories on love outline a complex system of relations—an oscillating dynamic of psychical and emotional tendencies following from both actual experience and fantasies produced by the mind. Her insights are often discussed and applied in psychoanalytical contexts, but the philosophical implications of her theory—especially in relation to Platonic thought—have rarely been discussed. In this article, I will attempt to address this gap by setting out some preliminary yet core considerations shared by both Plato and Klein. First, I will describe some structural parallels between Kleinian and Platonic thought, especially in dialectical terms. Second, I will outline Plato’s covert influence on Freud as passing through the teachings of philosopher Franz Brentano. And last, I will discuss intimacy as a struggle between the forces of good and bad, creativity and destruction, and love and hate—suggesting that Klein’s conception of love emerges as a moral exigency.
Stefana, A. (2018). From Die Traumdeutung to The Squiggle Game: A Brief History of an Evolution. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 78(2), pp. 182–194.
Abstract: It is often possible to retrace the history of a new concept or a new technique, identifying precursor and reflections that would lay the foundations for the birth of something “new”. This also applies to the “squiggle game” of Donald W. Winnicott, one of the Winnicottian “creations” in which the distinctive signs of its fatherhood are more evident as, at the same time, are evident several debts to other scientists: from Freud’s interpretation of dreams, through Jung, Klein and Fordham to Milner’s “free drawings”.
Laub, D. (2018). Book Review. Not in My Family: German Memory and Responsibility after the Holocaust, by Roger Frie, Oxford University Press, New York, 2017, 312pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 78(2), pp. 195–200.
Abstract: The Holocaust, like all instances of genocide, constitutes a unique and total breach in human relatedness. Perpetrators do not relate to victims as human beings, viewing them instead as vermin, rats, lice, or even inanimate objects—“pieces,” or Stücke, as Germans would call the dead bodies of gassed Jews. Only in such a context, in which human communication had broken down completely, could the mass murder be carried out. The perpetrators did not imagine the feelings—terror, pain, and loss—of their victims, and therefore allowed for no empathy in themselves. Or perhaps they did experience a glimpse of such feelings, yet immediately cut it off. In the aftermath they felt no guilt and had no regrets; indeed, they often even obliterated their knowledge that the murders had taken place. Such an obliteration constitutes a further breakdown of communication—in this instance, an internal breakdown, between the perpetrators and themselves. The latter phenomenon was manifested in perpetrators’…
Miller, I. S. (2018). Book Review. Bion in Brazil: Supervisions and Commentaries, edited by Jose Americo Junqueria de Mattos, and Howard B. Levine, Karnac, London, 2017, 262pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 78(2), pp. 201–204.
Abstract: “Where now, who now, when now?” These are fundamental questions of psychological orientation, interpreted through the words of Samuel Beckett (Beckett, 2006, p. 285). Wilfred Bion goes a step beyond and leans upon the doggerel of Rudyard Kipling in discerning seven such signposts, useful for thinking oneself into the aliveness of the human condition: what, why, when, how, where, who and the “I” that integrates them all (Bion, 1978).
Often, today, W.R. Bion is read as a “mystical,” somewhat oracular clinician/writer. Indeed, Bion’s approach to the questions framing the psychoanalyst’s worldview might suggest to us the Delphic presence he explicitly names (pp. 15–16). Bion’s descriptive prose often confounds the reader’s imagination, but it fundamentally also extends a task-driven perspective that melds methodological rigor with profoundly sensitive pliability, or what Ferenczi long before, located in compassionate provision toward understanding patients, seeking what ailed them, no…
Bacciagaluppi, M. (2018). Book Review. Understanding the Sexual Betrayal of Boys and Men. The Trauma of Sexual Abuse, edited by Richard Gartner, Routledge, New York, 2018, 348pp.; and Healing Sexually Betrayed Men and Boys. Treatment for Sexual Abuse, Assault and Trauma, edited by Richard Gartner, Routledge, New York, 2018, 330pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 78(2), pp. 205–208.
Abstract: These two books, edited by Richard Gartner (2018a, 2018b), are a follow-up of his 1999 groundbreaking volume, Betrayed as Boys. This is what I said about the 1999 work in my own book, Paradigms in Psychoanalysis:
This comment is quite correct but does not pay full tribute to the importance of Gartner’s work.
As we know, after having acknowledged the reality of sexual trauma in his early work, Freud denied it in 1897, and this denial became a cornerstone of the official psychoanalytic ideology. When Ferenczi validated the reality of…
Turtz, J. (2018). Book Review. When the Sun Bursts: The Enigma of Schizophrenia, by Christopher Bollas, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2015, 226pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 78(2), pp. 209–212.
Abstract: The writer and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel (1972), in his book of Hasidic tales entitled Souls on Fire: Portraits and Legends of Hasidic Masters, tells the story of a prince who believes himself to be a rooster. He refuses to wear clothes and spends all day hiding under a table. The king can find no one that can help his son. Finally, a sage tells the king that he thinks he can help. This man undresses and joins the prince under the table. The prince asks him what he is doing, and the sage tells him that he too is a rooster. From there on in, the healing process begins.
Christopher Bollas, in his book When the Sun Bursts: The Enigma of Schizophrenia, writes about the need for the healer to stand inside the shoes of the person with schizophrenia and enter that person’s experiential world. In a world where genetic and neurobiological explanations and pharmacological treatments rule the day, it is refreshing to read a book that emphasizes an understanding of schizophrenia from the most…
Orphanos, S. D. (2018). Book Review. The Enigma of Desire: Sex, Longing, and Belonging in Psychoanalysis, by Galit Atlas, Routledge, New York, 2016, 179pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 78(2), pp. 213–216.
Abstract: With the publication of The Enigma of Desire, Galit Atlas establishes herself as an important new voice in the world of psychoanalysis. The theoretical landscape she occupies is contemporary relational ideas. The clinical terrain she navigates is the integration of the intersubjective with intrapsychic aspects of the mind, and in particular sexuality. She couples thick theoretical descriptions with clinical illustrations of the sexual in the consulting room. Atlas moves from the personal to the cultural and from the clinical to the theoretical with the ease and grace of a talented and confident thinker and practitioner.
Atlas holds that in many instances it is early relationships that generate and complicate desire and create sexual problems. She upholds an important principle of contemporary relational theory by being careful about binaries and hierarchies. For example, she avoids privileging the Oedipal over the pre-Oedipal and mother-infant ties over later development. Her book is…