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Gonzalez-Torres, M. A. & Fernández-Rivas, A. (2020). Architecture, Urban Planning and Collective Identity: Bilbao as a Case Study. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(4), pp. 383–394.

Abstract: The emergence of a collective identity, a complex social and psychological process, may be linked to a specific place and a particular urban layout. Architecture demarcates interior and exterior spaces that not only frame our relationships but can also generate a mirror image of the internal world. The authors examine relevant contributions from the sparse psychoanalytic literature on this subject, to support their hypothesis that changes to a city’s landscape, design, or architecture, when wholeheartedly embraced by its citizens, can serve to forge a new collective identity that helps to deal with absence, pain, and loss. They present the city of Bilbao, Spain, as a case study. This once thriving industrial city had collapsed into economic ruin, rife with social conflict, but since the 1990s, in an urban renewal, has emerged as a unique tourist destination. It has become a modern art and cultural center, symbolized by its most famous piece of contemporary architecture.

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Guasto, G. (2020). Psychoanalysis Versus Adoption: Analytic Parenthood and Parental Countertransference. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(4), pp. 395–414.

Abstract: As we know, Sándor Ferenczi compared the analytic and adoptive relationships as the psychoanalyst exercises a parental role to some extent. The author notes that a commonality between the adoptive relationship and the analytic one is that if the parental couple is burdened with painful counter-transferential experiences and feelings that have not been worked through, these can pose a danger for the strength of the newly developing parental relationship. In the analytic situation the analyst’s position implies the risk of conflict with the parental internal objects resulting from the primary introjections, especially if the original environment was abusive or severely neglectful. Similarly, the adoptive family is often burdened with revengeful and competitive aggressiveness of their own introjected parental objects, having as a main task to keep unified the pre-adoptive autobiographical memories that were dissociated and interrupted. In such cases it is very important to give the adoptive parents help so as to cope with their difficult “countertransference,” supporting them to reduce their sense of guilt and unsuitability to nurse their children, especially if the adoptive parents feel guilty because of their own infertility. In this paper the author describes two cases concerning both situations, emphasizing the clinical risks and the evolutionary potentialities.

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Kogan, I. (2020). Some Psychoanalytic Reflections: Femininity, Feminism and Fantasy in “APPLE TREE YARD.” American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(4), pp. 415–434.

Abstract: This paper examines the interplay between femininity, feminism, and fantasy, based on the analysis of the protagonist of Apple Tree Yard, a British television mini series (2017) adapted by Amanda Coe from the novel of the same name by Louise Doughty (Apple Tree Yard. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2013). This examination addresses the following questions: What causes a married, 52-year-old woman, with two grown children to engage in a reckless and perverse affair with a man she does not know? What unconscious fantasies have been evoked by the traumas of her childhood and of her adult life, and how do these unconscious fantasies encroach upon her external reality?

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Lijtmaer, R. (202). Music Beyond Sounds and its Magic in the Clinical Process. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(4), pp. 435–457.

Abstract: This paper highlights the role of music in psychic change through a clinical case. A patient, who was initially distant and cold, started to talk about music. An enactment around the analyst’s comment about a famous conductor, started an exchange of music “notes” that changed the course of treatment. For the analyst, it brought old memories and musical reveries. For the patient, music allowed him to be in touch with undiscovered parts of himself and losses that had not been mourned. There was a mutual personal transformation and expanding awareness of self and other for both participants.

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Thomas, K. R., Kim, J. H. & Rosenthal, D. A. (2020). Psychodynamic Understanding and Treatment of Patients with Congenital Disability. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(4), pp. 458–471.

Abstract: This paper is a follow-up to an article published in 1989 by Cubbage and Thomas. The purpose of that article was to provide a comprehensive analysis of classical Freudian concepts such as castration anxiety, narcissism and self-regard, fear of the loss of love, secondary gain, the death instinct, and ego strength as they related to the treatment and personality development of persons with disabilities. Despite a rigorous review of the literature, an important paper of Freud’s with direct and significant implications for persons with congenital or other early-life disabilities was inadvertently overlooked. The purpose of the present paper is to correct that oversight and to provide an almost verbatim synopsis and rehabilitation treatment implications of Freud’s (1916) comments on “Exceptions,” a character designation that includes persons with congenital or other early-life disabilities that are viewed by the patient as having occurred through no fault of his or her own.
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Book Reviews:

Covitz, H. (2020). Book Review: From Tribal Division to Welcoming Inclusion: Psychoanalytic Perspectives by Maxine K. Anderson, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2019, 97 pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(4), pp. 472–475.

Once upon a time, psychoanalysts not only presumed that they had their finger on the pulse of humanity’s deepest thoughts and subliminal impulses but that they, indeed, had little to learn from sociologists, anthropologists and other psychological thinkers who had yet not metabolized the Master’s theories. Other thinkers similarly trying to understand how it is that aware human creatures become enmeshed in internal and external conflict were most often ignored. If these others failed to accept the Freudian metatheory of the sexual etiology of neuroses, they were labeled neurotic, resistant or ignorant of the new discoveries. A few, including Ferenczi (1924, p. 69), recommended a humble skepticism in our formulations. Speaking of the clinical situation, Ferenczi (1924) opined:
The difference between this [interpreting] and ordinary suggestion simply consists in this, that we do not deem the interpretations we offer to be irrefutable utterances, but regard their validity to be dependent on whether they can be verified by material brought forward from memory or by means of repetition of earlier situations (p. 69).

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Starr, K. E. (2020). Book Review: Ferenczi’s Influence on Contemporary Psychoanalytic Traditions: Lines of Development – Evolution of Theory and Practice over the Decades, edited by Aleksandar Dimitrijević, Gabriele Cassullo, and Jay Frankel, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2018, 308pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(4), 476–480.

The pandemic that struck Austria-Hungary in the summer of 1918 spread with such intensity that by the fall, all the schools in Vienna were closed. Two close friends and colleagues, Sigmund Freud and Sándor Ferenczi, corresponded with one another about the current state of affairs, filling each other in on the health of their families and the impact of the viral scourge on their private practices.

“Anna, Ernst, Mathilde are in the process of recovering from their Spanish [flus]. Oli suffered from it as well…” (Freud, 1918a, p. 299). “I and those closest to me have up to now been spared the Spanish flu, even though our hospital is a gathering place for severe cases. A pity that you have so much to do with this burdensome guest” (Ferenczi, 1918a, p. 300). “The epidemic is still dominating the scene. One hears about horrendous cases and is always reassured when someone has already had it” (Freud, 1918b, p. 302). “The influenza – or however one may term this pestilence – is terribly rampant in Budapest. Ten to fifteen persons are dying in our hospital daily” (Ferenczi, 1918b, p. 303). “My practice was very limited during these weeks of the epidemic” (Freud, 1918c, p. 305). “Isolation is an abhorrent source of the feeling of impotence, which is so strong at this time” (Freud, 1918d, p. 306).

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Turtz, J. (2020). Book Review: The Power of Phenomenology: Psychoanalytic and Philosophical Perspectives, by Robert D. Stolorow and George E. Atwood, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2019, 141 pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(4), pp. 481–484.

A patient once brought in a dream image to the psychoanalyst Joseph Barnett. The image was that of a clown’s face, with a big smile on it, in a bucket. Barnett, rather than starting to explore this dream with his patient, responded with something to the effect of, “Put some blood in the bucket, and then we’ll talk” (G. Goldstein, personal communication, December 28, 2019). There is simply no psychoanalytic treatment without blood. And Stolorow and Atwood highlight this in their most recent book, The Power of Phenomenology: Psychoanalytic and Philosophical Perspectives. This book on phenomenology and psychoanalysis truly is phenomenal! It is simply a magnificent book on a number of levels. For one, it delves deeply into the current thinking of these authors on a field of study they have immersed themselves in for a lifetime. Secondly, most chapters in this book end with a section devoted to dialogue between Stolorow and Atwood. This is a creative way of illustrating in a very alive manner both (a) the long collaborative journey taken together by these two psychoanalysts, and (b) the emphasis in hermeneutic phenomenology on truth emerging from dialogue, or what the hermeneutic philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer terms a “fusion of horizons” (p. 106). Thirdly, the concepts developed in this book have direct implications for both psychoanalytic theory and clinical practice. In fact, I think it would be fair to say that putting these concepts into practice would be a step toward radicalizing psychoanalysis. Fourthly, this book has implications for the world beyond the confines of the consulting room.

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Rothschild, L. (2020). Book Review: Working with Fathers in Psychoanalytic Parent-Infant Psychotherapy edited by Tessa Baradon, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2019, 191 pp. Psychoanalysis and Contemporary American Men: Gender Identity in a Time of Uncertainty by Steven Seidman and Alan Frank, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2019, 260 pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(4), pp. 485–488.

Following the turn toward object relations and subsequently relational psychoanalysis, familial life continues to be re-examined in a shifting cultural landscape where psychoanalytic thinking about mothers, fathers, and children has become increasingly textured if not complicated. While a pre-oedipal lens has greatly contributed to nuanced understandings of mother and child interaction, scholarship on fathers and masculinity, while significant to a point of asserting that fathering is not tethered to biology (cf., Rothschild, 2019a), continues to be appraised as a site in need of further study. Simply, scholarship on matters domestic remains mother-centric. Two new volumes labor to shed light on the dark continent that is man albeit from divergent vantage points. In some regard, each is concerned with the implication and limits of Target’s and Fonagy’s (2002) idea that the father is simply another attachment figure. Tessa Baradon’s edited volume focuses on the world of psychotherapy with fathers and infants, while the co-written work of Steven Seidman and Alan Frank centers on masculine identity per se. Taken together, critical aspects of a masculine functional territory become apparent in a fashion that illuminates questions and particularities regarding our shared human conditions.

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Molofsky, M. (2020). Book Review: The Place of the Visual in Psychoanalytic Practice: Image in the Countertransference, by Faye Carey, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2018, 133 pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80(4), pp. 489–491.

By bringing the visual into the spotlight, this book asks the psychoanalytic community to focus on symbolic content, symbolic process, very much in accordance with Freud’s understanding of dream imagery when he said, “The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind” (p. 608, 1900–1901).

This is very much in accordance with Jungian emphasis on the image and imagination. What is most striking is that Faye Carey identifies the visual image as a major element in processing countertransference. In her Introduction, she invites us to “reclaim the visual,” to contemplate bringing the image back to our awareness, to focus on what is seen before we conceptualize with words.

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