McCarthy, J. B. (2023). Hundred Years of the Psychoanalytic Progressive Mental Health Movement. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 83(1), 1–11.
Abstract: Beginning in 1920 and in keeping with Freud’s sustained encouragement, the first two generations of European psychoanalysts initiated a progressive mental health movement by offering very low cost and free psychoanalytic services that were in harmony with Austrian social democratic and socialist political leaders’ commitment to societal reforms in light of the economic and social inequities after the First World War. This synthesis of biographical and autobiographical accounts of early Freudian, Ego Psychology and Neo-Freudian theorists’ contributions highlights their consideration of the effects of social injustice as central challenges to the development of psychological growth.
Gondar, J. (2023). Ferenczi and Gender Trouble. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 83(1), 12–21.
Abstract: The paper analyzes Ferenczi’s contributions to contemporary debates on gender. It does not strictly adhere to what he wrote about masculinity and femininity, where he reveals himself as a man of his time, with the some of the prejudices of his time. Instead, the paper highlights the utraquistic method and the pluralist monism of Ferenczi, whereby he appears as an analyst who remains in synch with current problems. Against the purity of dualisms, Ferenczi embraced multiplicity, mixtures, and the transit between different spaces, beyond divisive frontiers. In terms of method, it resonates with Judith Butler’s proposals, with the ideas defended by Paul Preciado and by Queer theory.
Blackman, J. S. (2023). Some Arguments About Free Association as a Technique. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 83(1), 22–35.
Abstract: Freud, early in psychoanalytic history, modified hypnotic technique and recommended, in its stead, free association. This paper takes a close look at the theoretical foundations of that technique in light of theoretical developments over the past hundred plus years. It is argued that free association is similar to an asymptote, which is never quite reached. Moreover, it is argued that the direction to free associate is contraindicated in many, if not most, psychological disturbances. Guided association or avoidance of free association is sometimes required. For a limited group of patients, whose major ego functions (abstraction, integration, and reality testing), ego strengths (impulse control, affect tolerance, and containing primary process), object relations (capacities for empathy, trust, and closeness), and superego (shame/guilt) are intact, the direction to use the couch and attempt to free associate may still be quite useful. For most people who present for treatment, however, this approach is likely not beneficial. The complex arguments about the decision-making process regarding free association are discussed.
Mezzalira, S., Santoro, G., Bochicchio, V., & Schimmenti, A. (2023). Trauma and The Disruption of Temporal Experience: A Psychoanalytical and Phenomenological Perspective. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 83(1), 36–55.
Abstract: A deep understanding of the subjective experience of time in traumatized individuals may require a comprehensive framework that takes into account both psychoanalytic and phenomenological contributions. Referring to the retroactive interpretation of past experiences, the concept of Nachträglichkeit is critical to analyze how trauma can be signified in the form of the après-coup, in which the original traces of traumatic experiences are signified only at a later time. Trauma alters the temporal sequence of past, present, and future, thus leaving the psyche in a time-shifted dimension, where the shadow of the past extends over the present, and the unbearable present hinders growth and development. A clinical vignette is presented to illustrate how trauma can disrupt the temporal nature of subjective experience by reshaping the meaning of psychic events. Ultimately, trauma treatment aims at inscribing the person’s experience into a unified and coherent self-narrative.
Balbuena Rivera, F. (2023). Cultural History of Psychoanalysis in the Age of Neuroscience. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 83(1), 56–73.
Abstract: In this paper I have chosen the topic of psychoanalysis in the age of neuroscience, with the aim of showing why the cultural history of psychoanalysis still matters. To make myself better understood I shall refrain from evaluating the current findings in neuroscience and limit myself to reporting briefly on them. Although I do not regard myself by any means as an expert in that field, I may be permitted to offer a few ideas about it. In this regard, there is presently a significant predominance of biological ideologies and practices regarding the treatment of mental illness, which implies an increase in the interest in etiology, nosology, definitions, and the effectivity of treatments. Even so, those psychoanalytic historians and/or analysts among us who are committed to psychoanalysis and its therapeutic implications, irrespective of what drugs might be prescribed and what the research findings might conclude, believe that patients still want to be listened to in depth and always will. For that reason, it is justified to ask why the cultural history of psychoanalysis still matters in a contemporary mental health environment that is ever more oriented towards the neurosciences.
Blitzer, M. (2023). The Analyst’s Courage and Vulnerability in the Countertransference. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 83(1), 74–88.
Abstract: Courage requires us to persist and persevere despite fear. We make choices everyday—some are courageous, and some are not courageous at all. This dimension of psychoanalytic work is significant, yet relatively neglected in the psychoanalytic literature. Maintaining a courageous stance as an analyst can be challenging and threatening. Often, the therapist faces deeply rooted fears about abandonment, envy, competition, anger, or other forms of intense emotional arousal. This requires us to confront ourselves but also, at times, confront our patient’s behaviors. It is crucial to think and act independently, and deal with their disapproval and opposition, despite the risks challenging patients present. Ultimately, we need to manage our vulnerable feelings while remaining authentic, rather than hiding behind an overly clinical stance. The author presents two patients who required and inspired the courage to face her own anxieties, ultimately contributing to the treatments’ progress.
Guggenheim, N. (2023). Friendship of Virtue—The Place of True Friends in the Psychotherapeutic Process. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 83(1), 89–109.
Abstract: This paper offers a new take on friendship, its specific qualities, how it is subjectively experienced and changes over the course of a patient’s life and how it might serve as catalyst for positive change in the therapeutic process. The premise is based on the Aristotelian definition of friendship as a friendship of virtue, as well as on insights stemming from intersubjective thinking, and observations about horizontal relationships in contemporary psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. A review of the scant psychodynamic and psychoanalytic literature on friendship is presented and the author notes its marginal place in the lexicon compared with other more extensively studied relationships. Three clinical cases are presented to illustrate the potential of “friendships of virtue” as paths toward positive transformation in the course of treatment.
Bonomi, C. (2023). Book Review: Resilience and Survival: Understanding and Healing Intergenerational Trauma, by Clara Mucci, Confer Books, London, 2022, 212 pages. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 83(1), 110–113.
Clara Mucci is a well-known and prolific author who has extensively published in the fields of both literature and clinical psychology. […] Some of her best-known books are Extreme Sorrow: Trauma from Freud to the Shoah (2008), Beyond Individual and Collective Trauma: Intergenerational Transmission, Psychoanalytic Treatment, and the Dynamics of Forgiveness (2013); and Borderline Bodies: Affect Regulation Therapy for Personality Disorders (2018). Each one of these books is marked by Mucci’s encounter with an author who has had a deep and lasting influence on her: Dori Laub, and his definition of trauma as “the break of the empathic dyad”; Giovanni Liotti, and his claim that only trauma of human agency creates dissociation in the psyche; and finally, Allan Schore, with his view of attachment as based on a right-brain connection between child and caregiver, the same which regulates the unconscious connection between patient and psychotherapist. Her main and original contribution consists in the reorganization of these elements in a unique psychodynamic theory of the progressive levels of interpersonal traumatization: 1. early relational trauma due to misattunement between mother and child; 2. active abuse and maltreatment, leading to the identification with the aggressor; and 3. collective and massive traumatization. Since these progressive levels of interpersonal traumatization usually result in the intergenerational transmission of trauma, in turn they affect the basic level of syntonization and affect regulation, giving the process of human traumatization a peculiar circularity. This process is fully developed in Mucci’s last book on Resilience and Survival.
Janowitz, N. (2023). Book Review: Sexuality, Excess, and Representation: A Psychoanalytic Clinical and Theoretical Perspective, by Rosine Jozef Perelberg, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2020, 204 pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 83(1), 114–117.
This collection of essays by the prolific author Rosine Jozef Perelberg unites four papers published in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis with two previously published book chapters. The articles reflect her signature approach: a careful review of Freud’s contributions, comparison with cross-cultural evidence based on Perelberg’s anthropological training, and presentation of clinical vignettes to support her theoretical conclusions. The far-ranging topics covered in the volume include bisexuality, trauma, hallucinations and anxiety. This review will focus on three of the six chapters with briefer remarks about the three remaining chapters.
Aragão Oliveira, R. (2023). Book Review: Reading Bion, by Rudi Vermote, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2019, 273 pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 83(1), 118–121.
Rudi Vermote is one of today’s most recognized psychoanalysts, due to the originality of his thought, especially with regard to the expansion of some metapsychological conceptualizations proposed by Wilfred Bion. To understand the book’s1 full scope, it is necessary to possess a thorough knowledge of the evolution of Bion’s work. However, it is equally indispensable to have an up-to-date vision that integrates the many developments in psychoanalytic science over recent decades. Thus, we can say that this will be a book for the contemporary psychoanalyst. Further, Reading Bion proves to be one of the most fascinating books addressing Bion’s contributions – and I need not remind you that today there are a plethora of publications on the work and life of Bion!
Friedman, H. J. (2023). Book Review: Radical Revenge: Shame, Blame and the Urge for Retaliation, by Renée Danziger, Free Association Books, London, 2021, 153 pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 83(1), 122–125.
The title of this book is somewhat misleading. While published in 2021, its emphasis on radical revenge rather than mass shootings might well fail to attract readers who want to know more about the psychology of mass shooters than about revenge, whether radical or average in type. Under this title, however, the reader will find a great deal of material about mass shooters that seeks to illuminate their inner lives and what drives them to these acts of mass irrational destruction. Why are there so many mass shootings? The public wants to know; the media consults with experts for their opinion but the experts selected are seldom psychoanalysts. We, as psychoanalysts, do have access to a special kind of understanding of murderous rage that goes beyond making a diagnosis of mental illness as a determining factor in producing a mass murderer. But what we understand is complicated and not so easy to communicate to those who want and need an explanation because a combination of emotions and character deficits have to coalesce in order to produce a murderous individual and then he must, absolutely must, have access to semi- automatic weapons…
Sarnat, J. (2023). Book Review: Psychoanalytic Credos: Personal and Professional Journeys of Psychoanalysts, edited by Jill Salberg, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2022, 252 pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 83(1), 126–129.
According to Oxford Languages (2022), a “credo” is “a statement of the beliefs or aims which guide someone’s actions.” In 1989 Emmanuel Ghent wrote the first psychoanalytic essay titled “Credo,” thereby stimulating Psychoanalytic Dialogues to publish a whole series of them. Jill Salberg’s recent collection, part of the Relational Perspective Book Series, includes some of those essays, a few additional already-published pieces, and several newly invited ones.
Salberg tells us in her editor’s introduction that the candidates whom she teaches, are “hungry to learn from analysts about how they formed their ideas and thinking, what influences have shaped those ideas, what theoretical leanings have been important, and what aspects of personal life have formed and shaped them” (pp. 1–2). This collection of essays is her effort to feed that hunger.