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Psychoanalytic Psychology serves as a resource for original contributions that reflect and broaden the interaction between psychoanalysis and psychology.

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Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association

Therapists’ self-perception, attachment, and relationship: The role of selfobject needs.


The associations between therapists’ narcissistic vulnerability as manifested in their hunger for selfobject needs, attachment orientation, self-esteem, and authenticity, along with the quality of the therapeutic relationship with their clients were explored in a sample of 200 Israeli therapists. In addition, a regression model was tested in which therapists’ hunger for selfobject needs were posited to mediate the association between therapists’ attachment orientation and self-perception, which in turn was expected to mediate the association between therapists’ hunger for selfobject needs and the therapist–client bond. Hunger for selfobject needs was associated with anxious attachment orientation. Hunger for the selfobject need for mirroring was associated with low levels of self-esteem, authenticity, and the quality of the therapeutic bond. The therapists’ needs for mirroring mediated the association between therapists’ anxious attachment orientation and their self-perception, which in turn mediated the relationship between therapists’ hunger for selfobject needs and the quality of the relationship. The theoretical and clinical implications for therapy are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Parental rejection, personality, and depression in the prediction of suicidality in a sample of nonclinical young adults.


This study tested a prediction model of suicidality in a sample of young adults. Predictor variables included perceived parental rejection, self-criticism, neediness, and depression. Participants (N = 165) responded to the Depressive Experiences Questionnaire, the Inventory for Assessing Memories of Parental Rearing Behavior, the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, and the Suicide Behaviors Questionnaire—Revised. Perceived parental rejection, personality, and depression were assessed initially at Time 1, and depression again and suicidality were assessed 5 months later at Time 2. The proposed structural equation model fit the observed data well in a sample of young adults. Parental rejection demonstrated direct and indirect relationships with suicidality, and self-criticism and neediness each had indirect associations with suicidality. Depression was directly related to suicidality. Implications for clinical practice are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

The player and the game: Compulsion, relation, and potential space in video games.


For years, video games have been anecdotally associated with psychopathology, despite their increasing popularity among the general public and the lack of empirical evidence to support such a link. In this article, the author argues that games are more than symptoms and that game worlds can act as a kind of potential space (Winnicott, 1971/2005) not fully belonging to either intrapsychic or objective reality, but making contact with both. This space allows players to engage with complex psychological material—such as compulsions, self-and-other relations, morality, and personal growth—in vivo during the play session. Through exploration of the structural building blocks of games and specific case examples, the author suggests that an understanding of how and why patients play games can serve as an important clinical tool for sparking therapeutic change. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

“Cyclical psychodynamics and the contextual self”: Correction to Trotter and Harlem (2016).


Reports an error in "Review of Cyclical Psychodynamics and the Contextual Self" by Amber M. Trotter and Andrew Harlem (Psychoanalytic Psychology, 2016[Jul], Vol 33[3], 525-529). In this book review, there was an error in the 10th paragraph. The corrected paragraph is provided. (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2016-33729-002.) Reviews the book, Cyclical Psychodynamics and the Contextual Self by Paul L. Wachtel (see record 2014-16201-000). The first half of this book orients the reader to Wachtel’s particular psychoanalytic vision. At the heart of his “cyclical” theory is the conviction that our inner (private, subjective), intimate (primary relationships), and sociocultural worlds constantly interpenetrate and shape each other. The second half is dedicated to drawing out the implications of Wachtel's vision of psychoanalysis for the broader social world. It is here that the book comes most fully to life. Wachtel argues that psychoanalysis has much to contribute to our understanding of sociopolitical life, turning his attention most squarely to the issues of race, class, greed, and the “social construction of desire.” Extending psychoanalytic thinking into these realms is, for Wachtel, not simply a matter of personal passion; rather, he views it as a responsibility, a necessity. Regardless of how one views the relationship between psychoanalysis and science, one must admire the scope of Wachtel’s thinking and his remarkable penchant for synthesis. Even dissenting readers will be taken with his erudition, diligence, humility, and graciousness. Indeed, with its blend of psychoanalytic progressivism, integrative thinking, persistent skepticism, rigorous presentation of data, and explicit attention to ethical mooring, Cyclical Psychodynamics promises something for everyone. The thinker and the clinician, the seasoned psychoanalyst and the graduate student, are all likely to find meaningful questions and answers in this volume. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Classic psychoanalysis and male same-sex parents: A reexamination of basic concepts.


In response to political, technological, and sociocultural changes, the family unit built around a mother and father who are married to each other has been joined in recent decades by a range of other models, including, among others, male same-sex families. These families challenge the narratives of classic psychoanalysis, which relate explicitly to the traditional model. This article examines the potential for conflict and the possibility of coexistence between male same-sex families and basic psychoanalytic concepts such as Oedipus complex, identification with the same-sex parent, the good-enough mother, and primary maternal preoccupation. It adopts a postmodern perspective and makes use of clinical vignettes. This article also considers the clinical implications that may result from the encounter between male same-sex parents and therapists relying on the orthodox interpretation of classic concepts. These include the influence of a therapist’s conscious or subconscious beliefs regarding the desired family model, which are derived from a set of internalized attitudes and fantasies, social and professional socialization, theoretical interpretations of psychoanalytic concepts, and so on. This article calls for further exploration of the applicability of classic psychoanalytic concepts to other types of new families, such as female same-sex parents and single-parent families. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Reconsidering resistance.


Resistance can be identified in the treatment when the patient attempts to take over the resolution of his problems in regressed, but familiar ways. Long regarded as opposition—against the treatment and against the authority of the analyst—resistance has evoked images of battle and has been a source of frustration for both analyst and patient. Modern theorists view the resistant patient as trying his best and entreat analysts to keep in mind the pain behind the patient’s resistance. But impatience prevails when a resistance persists. This paper portrays a form of resistance that appears in the treatment as self-sufficient behavior. Faced with fears of entering territory that is unknown, inevitably alone and unable to depend, it is not surprising that our patient eschews our “help” in favor of known, albeit inadequate, solutions. Recognizing its appearance and explaining this framework to our patients may help mitigate a resistance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

The interplay between loss and enchantment in the works of J. R. R. Tolkien.


In The Lord of the Rings and other writings, J. R. R. Tolkien creates enchantment for the reader while at the same moment he puts enchantment at risk for loss. Tolkien never resolves whether enchantment or loss “wins,” instead leaving them in a dialogue. This interplay between enchantment and loss symbolizes the need to maintain metaphorical enchantment (connection, meaning) while confronted by loss. One reason many adolescents are absorbed by Tolkien and other fantasists is that adolescence involves a “normal disenchantment” due to turning from play to increased engagement with adult realities. Tolkien embodied the interplay of enchantment and loss in his life. His writings are an expression of his struggle to maintain enchantment in the face of the many losses he experienced, ranging from his orphaning to the horrors of World War I. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Review of Moving images: Psychoanalytic reflections on film.


Reviews the book, Moving Images: Psychoanalytic Reflections on Film by Andrea Sabbadini (see record 2014-05131-000). Sabbadini, a psychoanalyst practicing in London, has written a short but stimulating survey of some films that have “moved” him. He freely admits that his choices are highly personal and hence arbitrary. Moving Images is broken into six chapters, each one devoting several pages to three, four, or five individual films. On the one hand, this is a highly random sampling of films from four different countries and four different eras. On the other hand, each of these films allows the author to explore a different aspect of Freud’s legacy. Throughout the book, Sabbadini follows Freud in peppering his prose with references to significant works of art, virtually all of them from Freud’s time or before. This is an enlightening book, granting us many brief glimpses into how Freud’s legacy can be put to use for the study of good films from a variety of cultures. Sabbadini's choices of films are often surprising, but his analyses are always valuable. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Review of The buried giant: A novel.


Reviews the book, The Buried Giant: A Novel by Kazuo Ishiguro (2015). No matter what the British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro writes about, his concerns remain the same: memory, repression, reticence, and resignation. In his novels, Ishiguro explores what we don’t know about ourselves and our own pasts—or more accurately, what we can’t let ourselves know about these things: what it is that we refuse to see or to understand, what we cannot tell others when we narrate the story of our lives because we’ve never been able to say it even to ourselves. Questions of memory in particular pervade The Buried Giant, the tale of an elderly couple struggling to keep a picture of their long life together intact in the face of a strange and powerful forgetting that has overtaken the inhabitants of their medieval hillside warren and, it turns out, all of the settlements and villages that surround it. Ishiguro's concern is not simply what we don’t remember, but rather what we can’t let ourselves remember. What are the things we have to forget to stay together? The strength of The Buried Giant is the way it extends this question, asking what we have to forget to maintain relationships between couples, surely, but also between warring factions. It is a book not simply about memory and forgetting, but also about world history and collective trauma. The Buried Giant teaches us that however much a culture or political regime may wish to forget the atrocities it has committed, that concealed history of violence—imperial, martial, or social—will continue to have its effects. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Review of The interwoven lives of Sigmund, Anna, and W. Ernest Freud.


Reviews the book, The Interwoven Lives of Sigmund, Anna, and W. Ernest Freud by Daniel Benveniste (2015). For anyone who has engaged with the history of psychoanalysis in the 20th century, this book will hold a great fascination. We have Sigmund Freud, the founder and dominating titan of psychoanalysis; Anna Freud, his daughter, one of the foremost leaders of the psychoanalytic movement in midcentury and an influential writer; and W. Ernest Freud, Freud’s eldest grandchild, and not a major player in the history of psychoanalysis. The lives of these three people were indeed interwoven. Benveniste, by looking at their lives with an emphasis on the interactions of each with the other two, does much to illuminate our understanding of Sigmund Freud and Anna Freud. He asserts that Anna Freud’s first psychoanalytic treatment was with Ernest, in the period after the little boy’s mother died. Benveniste describes his study as a deliberate attempt at psychobiography. He deftly examines the psychological life of the three Freuds, particularly Ernest. He analyzes Ernest’s difficulties; his shyness, lack of self-esteem, and especially the effect on him of his mother’s death, heightened by his never having a close relationship with his father. The book was written as a collaboration between Benveniste and Ernest, who invited Benveniste to write about his life and who participated in numerous lengthy interviews. Benveniste conscientiously scoured the historical materials and interviewed everyone he could find who was involved with Ernest. The book is replete with fascinating anecdotes and quotations. Benveniste’s writing is consistently graceful, insightful, and comprehensive. A clinical psychologist who is highly knowledgeable about psychoanalysis, he is at his best at analyzing personality. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Review of The rupture of serenity: External intrusions and psychoanalytic technique.


Reviews the book, The Rupture of Serenity: External Intrusions and Psychoanalytic Technique by Aisha Abassi (see record 2015-22888-000). Rarely is a psychoanalytic book a page-turner; this one is. Unlike the familiar psychoanalytic text, this book is immediately personal, not abstract, not at a distance. This is because of the author’s willingness to share directly with the reader her vulnerability and humanity. The reader is immediately drawn into her analytic life, with her personal conflicts, her imperfections, and her suffering. She steadfastly maintains her consistent attention to the needs of her patient. We are given access to how she resolves, by effective self-analysis, the origins of her countertransferences. The ruptures of the serenity of her analytic practice are dramatic and profound. Abassi includes the highly personal intrusions on the serenity of her practice, such as having to share with her patients her problems with infertility. The way Abassi deals with her patients’ often quite sadistic anger at her, their doubts about her capacity to understand them, and their contempt for her serves as a model of how someone well analyzed usefully first works through for herself the countertransference and then makes use of it for the patient’s benefit. Her careful use of measured self-revelations, always for the patient’s benefit, is remarkable. This book, with its examples—sometimes dramatic and always accessible to the reader—serves as a model for both trainees and experienced analysts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Review of Psychopathology: From science to clinical practice.


Reviews the book, Psychopathology: From Science to Clinical Practice, edited by Louis G. Castonguay and Thomas F. Oltmanns (see record 2013-27767-000). This book attempts to bridge basic science and clinical practice. The overarching framework aims at nothing less than translating findings from basic science into specific recommendations for treatment. The individual chapters are cowritten by experts in psychopathology and experts in psychotherapy, and each chapter spans an enormous range of knowledge. In addition to bridging science and practice, the book aims at bridging theoretical orientations by focusing on general principles of change rather than theory-specific interventions. Another important feature of the book is its goal to go beyond Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) symptoms and diagnoses by focusing on other features typically associated with DSM disorders. At the same time, it is clear from page one that the book has its conceptual foundations in a cognitive– behavioral symptom-based framework. The book represents an important bridge between cognitive–behavioral approaches and humanistic/psychodynamic ways of thinking, and will likely be of interest to psychoanalytic clinicians looking to integrate other ways of conceptualizing cases and conducting treatment beyond the psychoanalytic realm. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Review of Becoming Freud: The making of a psychoanalyst (Jewish Lives series).


Reviews the book, Becoming Freud: The Making of a Psychoanalyst (Jewish Lives series) by Adam Phillips (see record 2014-21542-000). It takes chutzpah to write a biography about Sigmund Freud, and Adam Phillips knows it. For one, as the young Freud—29 years and full of heroic audacity—wrote to his fiancée that he had destroyed all his notes, letters, scientific excerpts and manuscripts of his papers of the last 14 years, to make it difficult for his biographers. This biography of Freud, then, is really a story about Phillips’ reading of Freud, which will then be about Phillips, or, better, Phillips’ Freud. Readers are warned repeatedly that what they are about to read is a deception, an authorial “miscommunication.” But it is a miscommunication that aims for something like the truth. The delimiting strategy of Phillips’ book is to tell us about Freud pre-Freud, the early despairing and exhilarating years of “splendid isolation”—that is, to recover Freud before he became Freud the movement and Freud the myth. This is the Freud of the title, the one who is still becoming, the one becoming not only a psychoanalyst, but the very first psychoanalyst. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Review of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.), Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders: A Step-by-Step Treatment Manual, 5th Edition, and Essentials of Psychiatric Diagnosis: Responding to the Challenges of DSM-V.


Reviews the books, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th Ed.) by American Psychiatric Association (see record 2013-14907-000); Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders: A Step-By-Step Treatment Manual, 5th Edition edited by D. H. Barlow (see record 2014-05860-000); and Essentials of Psychiatric Diagnosis: Responding to the Challenges of DSM-V by A. Frances (see record 2013-34436-000). The American Psychiatric Association, for the past 62 years, has put out a diagnostic and statistical manual that, today, is neither diagnostic nor a manual. From the second edition of the DSM through the fifth edition, the volume has grown about 10-fold and is laden with symptom lists and statistics. In this review, J. S. Blackman goes over the history of problems regarding diagnosis, discusses the DSM–5, reviews the Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders and Essentials of Psychiatric Diagnosis, and shares his perspectives on diagnosis and treatment selection. Considering the state of psychoanalytic knowledge, Blackman feels that diagnosis of mental disturbances should involve more than phenomenology. Assessment should be made of ego functions, ego strengths, object relations and attachment, and superego. In addition, diagnosis should include a formulation of the wishes, superego features, affects, and defenses contributing to the compromise formations (symptoms and personality traits). These are the elements, clinically, that bear on selection of treatment and prognosis. Blackman also suggests that not mentioning any analytic theories limits both Frances’s and Barlow’s books. Both, however, challenge the DSM–5: Frances’s through streamlining, Barlow’s through elaboration. Both books articulate clear descriptions of their orientations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Review of Traumatic ruptures: Abandonment and betrayal in the analytic relation.


Reviews the book, Traumatic Ruptures: Abandonment and Betrayal in the Analytic Relation by edited Robin A. Deutsch (see record 2014-24216-000). Deutsch’s anthology addresses various traumatic ruptures of the psychoanalytic dyad, including clinical alliances riven by death, suicide, and sexual boundary violation. Candid first-hand accounts often told from the perspective of psychoanalytic candidates convey painful disruptions as rarely before done in the professional literature. These personal narratives communicate how ethical transgressions not only injure patient and analyst, but also splinter the training institute and compromise the psychoanalytic community as a whole. The book evaluates the responses of analytic institutes to an ethical breach from the victim’s point of view and outlines how such clinical corruptions can better be handled. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Review of Donald W. Winnicott: A new approach.


Reviews the book, Donald W. Winnicott: A New Approach by Laura Dethiville and translated by Susan Ganley Levy (see record 2014-45844-000). Dethiville’s book is a scholarly work that provides an excellent overview of most of Winnicott’s major ideas. Winnicott’s creativity and brilliance are illustrated by carefully chosen quotations. What interested the reviewer the most, however, was the inadvertent depiction of cultural differences in reading and thinking about Winnicott. The French seem to have had a very different experience in the last few decades, in comparison to the reviewer's experience in the American world of psychoanalysis and clinical psychology. This book reads easily and offers numerous insights. It inspires the reader to deepen his or her understanding of Winnicott in ways that are alive and highly personal. The book is recommended as a primer and also an advanced source of Winnicott scholarship. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)