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Contemporary Psychoanalysis in America

Leading Analysts Present Their Work

Edited by Arnold M. Cooper, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-58562-232-0
  • Item #62232

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This book is a unique and superb gateway to current psychoanalytic thinking. Thirty of America's foremost psychoanalysts—leaders in defining the current pluralistic state of the profession—have each presented what they consider to be their most significant contribution to the field. No mere anthology, these are the key writings that underlie current discussions of psychoanalytic theory and technique.

The chapters cover contemporary ideas of intersubjectivity, object relations theory, self psychology, relational psychoanalysis, hermeneutics, clinical technique, changing concepts of unconscious, empirical research, infant observation, gender and sexuality, and more. While the differences in point of view are profound, there is also a striking coherence on some core issues. Each of the contributions features an introduction by the volume editor and a note by the author explaining the rationale for its selection. The brilliant introduction by Peter Fonagy provides an overview and places each author in the context of contemporary psychoanalysis.

A list of the authors may convey the astonishing breadth of this volume:
Brenner, Bromberg, Busch, Chodorow, Cooper, Emde, Friedman, Gabbard, Goldberg, Greenberg, Grossman, Hoffman, Jacobs, Kantrowitz, Kernberg, Levenson, Luborsky, Michels, Ogden, Ornstein, Person, Pine, Renik, Schafer, Schwaber, Shapiro, Smith, Stern, Stolorow, Wallerstein

This is a best of the best volume—cutting-edge writing, highly accessible and studded with vivid clinical illustrations. Anyone wishing to acquire a comprehensive, authoritative, readily accessible—even entertaining—guide to American psychoanalytic thinking will find their goal fulfilled in this monumental collection.


  • Contributors
  • Preface
  • Introduction: Walking Among Giants
  • Chapter 1. Conflict, compromise formation and structural theory
  • Chapter 2. Treating patients with symptoms—and symptoms with patience: reflections on shame, dissociation, and eating disorders
  • Chapter 3. In the neighborhood: aspects of a good interpretation and a developmental lag in ego psychology
  • Chapter 4. Heterosexuality as a compromise formation: reflections on the psychoanalytic theory of sexual development
  • Chapter 5. The narcissistic-masochistic character
  • Chapter 6. Mobilizing fundamental modes of development: empathic availability and therapeutic action
  • Chapter 7. Ferrum, ignis, and medicina: return to the crucible
  • Chapter 8. Miscarriages of psychoanalytic treatment with suicidal patients
  • Chapter 9. Between empathy and judgment
  • Chapter 10. Conflict in the middle voice
  • Chapter 11. The self as fantasy: fantasy as theory
  • Chapter 12. Ritual and spontaneity in the psychoanalytic process
  • Chapter 13. On misreading and misleading patients: some reflections on communications, miscommunications, and countertransference enactments
  • Chapter 14. The external observer and the lens of the patient-analyst match
  • Chapter 15. Recent developments in the technical approaches of English-language psychoanalytic schools
  • Chapter 16. The pursuit of the particular: on the psychoanalytic inquiry
  • Chapter 17. A relationship pattern measure: the Core Conflictual Relationship Theme
  • Chapter 18. Psychoanalysts' theories
  • Chapter 19. The analytic third: implications for psychoanalytic theory and technique
  • Chapter 20. Chronic rage from underground: reflections on its structure and treatment
  • Chapter 21. Knowledge and authority: the godfather fantasy
  • Chapter 22. The four psychologies of psychoanalysis and their place in clinical work
  • Chapter 23. Playing one's cards face up in analysis: an approach to the problem of self-disclosure
  • Chapter 24. Narration in the psychoanalytic dialogue: psychoanalytic theories as narratives
  • Chapter 25. The struggle to listen: continuing reflections, lingering paradoxes, and some thoughts on recovery of memory
  • Chapter 26. On reminiscences
  • Chapter 27. Countertransference, conflictual listening, and the analytic object relationship
  • Chapter 28. Some implications of infant observations for psychoanalysis
  • Chapter 29. World horizons: a post-Cartesian alternative to the Freudian unconscious
  • Chapter 30. One psychoanalysis or many?
  • Index

About the Authors

Arnold M. Cooper, M.D., is Stephen P. Tobin and Dr. Arnold M. Cooper Professor Emeritus in Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and Training and Supervising Analyst at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research in New York City.

We have here the rare opportunity of studying the best contributions of North American psychoanalysis directly from their authors, 30 renowned psychoanalysts representing a fascinating texture of very varied ideas. It is a pleasure to see here not only the papers, but the reason for their choice. They cover many different areas of psychoanalytic theory, practice and application, written in different periods and each with a specific style. Together they show the strength and creativity of the North American way of developing psychoanalysis. In a moment when we need, more than ever, to be able to listen to the other, trying to understand what is specific to this otherness in order to develop our discipline and our ability to live with different analytic cultures, this book is a remarkable achievement that will contribute much to our current pursuit of mutual understanding.—Claudio Laks Eizirik, M.D., Ph.D., President, International Psychoanalytical Association

Arnold Cooper has assembled some of the outstanding psychoanalytic thinkers of the 20th and 21st centuries. He has given us a rich menu of edifying and delightful papers on diverse aspects of psychoanalysis. The product of so many active creative minds of the leading thinkers of the day on psychoanalysis is a treasure and will be enjoyed by many in all fields who have any interest in human psychology and its relationship to mental health.—Herbert Pardes, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia and Cornell Universities

One of our greatest contemporary psychoanalysts, Arnold Cooper, has edited a splendid compilation of thirty pivotal papers, written by the finest and most thoughtful leaders in the field. As a comprehensive summary of contemporary theories and ideas, this book reveals psychoanalysis as a living and vital discipline. This is a book you will want to own, read, savor, and re-read.—Nancy C. Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D., Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine; Editor Emeritus, American Journal of Psychiatry

This collection illustrates what one contributor calls the 'intellectual ferment' of the art or science of psychoanalysis. The variety and seriousness of intellectual effort is throughout very striking. The writers are not detached theorists but clinicians, absorbed in what is really the study of humanity, often the study of particular and painful stories of unhappiness. I thought of the old Roman claim nihil humanum me alienum puto as a motto which these dedicated practitioners deserve more than any other professional group I can think of. Some of the contributors are interested in other fields of research, including narrative, and they are in some ways kin to novelists. This is a remarkable book and one cannot but think highly of the profession it describes and celebrates.—Sir Frank Kermode, formerly King Edward VII Professor of English, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of the British Academy

The chapters encompass the broadly ranging currents of contemporary analytic thinking while serving the useful purpose of drawing these seminal papers together under a single cover. Students of psychoanalytic theory and practice will appreciate this collection as a useful compendium of current mainline perspectives in psychoanalysis.—Bulletin of Menninger Clinic, 8/11/2006

[Contemporary Psychoanalysis in America] is an excellent and much needed book. With the advent of self psychology and ego psychology's loss of dominance, there has been an explosion of new theories and ideas in the mainstream. This book does a wonderful job of bringing together all of these, from intersubjectivity to infant psychology, in one easily accessible format. I would highly recommend this to anyone in the field of psychoanalysis or psychology.—Doody's Book Review Service, 8/11/2006

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