Rendón, M. (2020). The Morality of Evolution and a Return to Subjectivity. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(1), pp. 1–15.
Abstract: Today societies display, almost uniformly, an aggressive demeanor that can hardly be covered by diplomacy; they are always prepared for war. The prophecy is repeatedly fulfilled and today we are engaged in protracted wars while fearing universal destruction. This basic attitude irremediably corrupts our consciousness and blemishes our self. The biological underpinnings of how we got to this point, psychologically, and the historical sublimations involved are explored here. The result, today, is that we live using a minimum of our human capacity at the huge cost in crucial energetic waste, while nature has started to protest. The self-feeding destructive mechanism is inordinate objectification, at the expense of our unique subjective power. Evolutionarily designed for balanced self-regulation—the sublimation of a dual instinctual disposition backed up by a dimorphic body and brain—nature warns us we have detoured from the moral blueprint and, were we to continue it will be at our own risk. We need to review our moral theories and return to our critical pre-patriarchal subjectivity, which was resourceful, dually-fed, balanced, and discriminating. That subjectivity is now largely replaced by pre-emptive, ideological cognitive modules and stereotypes that block intelligent dialogue and appear to be already modeled on a false Utopia of artificial intelligences.
Amid, B., Aron, L. & Bachar, E. (2020). Selfless Self-Transcendence in the Clinical Setting as a Source of Self-Enhancement. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(1), pp. 16–36.
Abstract: This paper examines the paradox of Selfless–Self-Transcendence, that is, how the self is enriched through self-renunciation. The article discusses what enables being carried away without forethought into selfless–self-transcendence and how, eventually, these inadvertent surrenders create therapeutic shifts. Using clinical vignettes, we suggest that the selfless move towards patients is part of a latent mutual process, with them, and it enables the restoration of the self to an enriched form. These depictions imply that like the patients, the analysts also encounter themselves in a truer way which allows them to become who they really are, through selflessly transcending themselves.
Copper, S. P. (2020). Realizational Perspectives: Bion’s Psychoanalysis and Dogen’s Zen. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(1), pp. 37–52.
Abstract: The author discusses similarities, differences and identities between the later work of the psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion and the Soto Zen Buddhist teacher Eihei Dogen. The discussion elaborates points that help to explain the interest in Bion by psychoanalysts who work to integrate Buddhism and psychoanalysis. Four major points of convergence structure this discussion. They include: a radical openness to unknowing; a shared orientation to the relation between intuition and cognition; a shift from attention to static mind states to an emphasis on fluid functions and actional relationships; and a radically experiential orientation rooted in the present moment.
Gaddini, A. & Riefolo, G. (2020). “I-ness” and the Dissociative Process. Working with Defensive and Creative Dissociations in the Analytic Process. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(1), pp. 53–68.
Abstract: We suggest that the analytic dialogue develops as a continuous movement that we call “Dissociative Process”, and that this process is the continuous oscillation between defensive positions (repression) and creative positions. Dissociation, as a defense, is a Freudian theoretical stance, while Dissociation, as a possibility for new and creative solutions, is a theory emanating from Janet and was adopted, especially, by relational and inter-subjective psychoanalysis. Through a clinical vignette we suggest how the attitude of an analyst, who is attentive to the Dissociative Process, will respect the Defensive Dissociations of the patient. But, at the same time, the analyst will be particularly careful to support potential solutions, never made real before, that emerge as new associative aggregates (Janet’s Reaggrégation psychique) deriving from the dissociation of the frustrating or traumatic experience, which we propose calling “Creative Dissociations”. The dissociative solutions (defensive and creative) are not sequential but simultaneous.
Harris, J. (2020). An Inheritance of Terror: Postmemory and Transgenerational Transmission of Trauma in Second Generation Jews after the Holocaust. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(1), pp. 69–84.
Abstract: Postmemory, as Hirsch (1997) has defined it, describes the relationship of the second generation to powerful, often traumatic experiences that preceded their births, but that were nevertheless transmitted as to seem to constitute memories of their own. Although subsequent research has created a more complete picture of the interactions between parents and children, Hirsch’s definition has clear bearing on how descendants have attempted to commemorate the prior generation’s ordeals through various means, some narrative, some visual, while still qualifying those modes as acts of transfer or the resonant after-effects of trauma. Focusing on the Holocaust, this article examines certain lines of communication between survivors and their children as mediums of transgenerational transmission of trauma through both theoretical and experiential models of identification. It also attempts to signify how parenting styles contribute to children’s maladaptive behaviors if no intervention is staged. Additionally, I conclude that while second generation Jews may suffer negatively from intrapsychic and interpersonal problems observable by clinicians, they can also learn to integrate and understand their heritage through personal and therapeutic expression linked to the larger cultural context.
Frogel, S. (2020). The Will to Truth, the Death Drive and the Will to Power. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(1), pp. 85–93.
Abstract: This paper claims that Freud’s idea of the death drive is analogous to the will to truth in traditional philosophy and can be better understood as a truth drive. The argument is based upon Nietzsche’s interpretation of the will to truth as a concealed will to death. This interpretation emphasizes the opposition between truth and life; truth is a concept of constancy while life is a concept of change. Freud’s recognition of the conservative nature of the drives brings him to the paradoxical conclusion of the existence of a death drive. It is paradoxical, for Freud, since it considers death as a fundamental principle of life and as its aim. The paper suggests that by replacing the concept of death by the concept of truth and using Nietzsche’s idea of “the will to power” this paradox can be resolved without losing Freud’s insight of the dialectic nature of psychological life.
Castelloe, M. (2020). Book Review: Meaning and Melancholia: Life in the Age of Bewilderment, by Christopher Bollas, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2018, 130 pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(1), pp. 94–97.
What kind of global selves are we becoming? This is the central question fervently posed by Christopher Bollas in his slim yet sweeping new book. Advances in industry and technology over the last two centuries have not only changed our modes of being in the world but also our forms of thought, degrading them in ways that propel our species toward extinction. We are in a psychosocial crisis, Bollas declares, one that demands prompt understanding of political psychology and the application of psychodynamics to large groups and nations.
Koritar, E. (2020). Book Review: Trauma and Primitive Mental States: An Object Relations Perspective, by Judy K. Eekhoff, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2019, 122 pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(1), pp. 98–102.
Judy Eekhoff’s Trauma and Primitive Mental States is a work of remarkable breadth, depth, and clarity that will appeal to a wide audience, from novice to advanced practitioners. Too often I hear from colleagues just beginning their analytic training, that a talk that they have heard was way above their heads, or “I need to get the paper and study it to understand what the speaker was saying.” Psychoanalysts have developed an insular language used in their scholarly communications which can sound like “psychobabble” to the secular or novice public, having been left impressed with the language but confused about the message. In this regard, I was impressed with the clarity of Eekhoff’s writing but also her depth of understanding primitive mental states, and communicating her research in a simple yet sophisticated manner. Her writing style is quite unique, inviting the reader to witness how she processes intersubjective clinical experiences moving from the semiotic to semantic and symbolic representations of primitive mental states that present in the consulting room. She weaves ideas by Freud, Ferenczi, Bion, Klein, Green, Ogden and others, together with her own clinical observations into a tapestry comprising a harmonious mix of conceptual and empirical observations transcending both into an aesthetic sense of the primitive mental state. We are invited to be the “fly on the wall” observing analyst and analysand experiencing each other in the consulting room. Undigested yet somatically registered experiences surface from the non-repressed unconscious, inflicting the analytic couple with terror and suffering long ago imprinted on the body ego, but resurrected in the consulting room…
Kessler, L. (2020). Book Review: A Psychoanalytic Exploration of the Body in Today’s World, edited by Vaia Tsolas and Christine Anzieu-Premmereur, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2018, 212 pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(1), pp. 103–106.
The book A Psychoanalytic Exploration of the Body in Today’s World is a collection of essays born out of the APM (Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine) symposium On the Body in May 2016. Editor Vaia Tsolas introduces the volume’s two intersecting vectors: the post-human effects of technological and medical advances along with sociological changes on behaviors, sexuality and psychosomatics of a body; and the near eclipse of the role of infantile sexuality and its relationship to repression and the body in many contemporary theoretical quarters of psychoanalysis. The body’s bio-psycho-social provenance makes it the object of psychoanalytic inquiry. As such it provides an opportunity for a fascinating array of insights from a variety of perspectives.
Bacciagaluppi, M. (2020). Book Review: Freud’s Jaw and Other Lost Objects: Fractured Subjectivity in the Face of Cancer, by Lana Lin, Fordham University Press, New York, 2017, 224 pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(1), pp. 107–109.
The author examines the impact of cancer in three figures. In the first of four chapters she discusses Freud’s cancer of the jaw, which he developed in 1923 and with which he grappled for 16 years. The subject of the second chapter is the poet Audre Lorde, who developed breast cancer. In Chapter 3 Lin discusses literary theorist Eve Kosoksky Sedgwick, who likewise suffered from breast cancer. Finally, in Chapter 4, the author compares the two Freud Museums in Vienna (Berggasse 19) and in London (Maresfield Gardens). So, the main emphasis of the book is on Freud. On p. 21 she adds that she herself experienced breast cancer.
Finn, M. (2020). Book Review: The Future of Psychoanalysis: The Debate About the Training Analyst System, edited by Peter Zagermann, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2018, 378 pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(1), pp. 110–112.
The Future of Psychoanalysis is misleadingly subtitled The Debate About the Training Analyst System. It is misleading because it under estimates the scope of this book. The debate about the role of the training analyst opens the door to a very wide-ranging discussion of the history and future of psychoanalytic organizations that draws on authors from around the world. While there is some repetition, it is actually very helpful to read about the same issues in psychoanalytic history from different cultural perspectives. Several questions that might be considered existential create an underlying tension. Everyone seems to agree that psychoanalysis as defined by mid twentieth century standards is in serious decline world-wide. There is concern that efforts to preserve a more conservative notion of psychoanalysis may actually prove fatal. Of course, this leads to the vexing question of what is psychoanalysis and how it is distinguished from psychotherapy. Is it a matter of frequency of sessions or something more qualitative? If the matter is qualitative, experience counts and a certain hierarchy is inevitable. Harold Blum agrees that the criticisms of the training analyst system are valid but argues no true alternative has been proposed. Robert Wallerstein observes that even removing reporting training analysts doesn’t eliminate the tendency of small in groups of senior clinicians from exercising potentially constrictive organizational control.
Griffin, C. (2020). André Haynal, MD, August 13, 1930–November 7, 2019. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(1), pp. 113–118.
André Haynal, psychoanalyst, philosopher, author of many important books and hundreds of articles, valued International Editorial Board member of the American Journal of Psychoanalysis, Mary Sigourney Award winner in 2007, Former President of the Swiss Psychoanalytic Society, Former Vice President of the International Psychoanalytical Association, and Honorary Professor at the Geneva University Medical School, passed away on November 7th, in Geneva, Switzerland. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Véronique, children, and grandchildren. The Editors.