Cover: Relational Concepts in Psychoanalysis: An Integration, from Harvard University PressCover: Relational Concepts in Psychoanalysis in HARDCOVER

Relational Concepts in Psychoanalysis

An Integration

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$100.00 • £86.95 • €90.95

ISBN 9780674754119

Publication Date: 11/15/1988


340 pages


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Readers will find Mitchell to be a persuasive advocate for the centrality of relational thinking in psychoanalytic theory and clinical practice… Thought-provoking… As an added bonus, Mitchell writes very well, and his use of metaphor and wit make this book a pleasure to read.—Saul E. Rosenberg, Ph.D., American Journal of Psychiatry

This is a marvellous book. Mitchell argues that over the past few decades psychoanalysis has undergone a paradigm shift. The change is nothing short of a revolution in thought which radically alters our understanding of the mind and human relationships… Mitchell is a persuasive writer who skillfully draws together the central ideas from object relations theory, interpersonal psychoanalysis and the self-psychologies. He argues that despite their many differences these ‘newer’ traditions have one central theme in common—they all stress the central importance of personal relationships and human interaction. In this new paradigm the focus of psychoanalytic study shifts away from the vicissitudes of the instincts to persons in their interactions with others… The book is scholarly and informative, but yet it is readable, and enjoyably so. Mitchell does a wonderful job in bringing together the relational concepts embedded in the work of Bowlby, Klein, Winnicott, Fairbairn, Kohut, and others. Brought together in this way, the case against Freud’s drive theory seems impressively self-evident… This is an excellent book which brings together the relational concepts that now characterise psychotherapy. This is the leading edge of psychoanalysis, and Mitchell’s work certainly helps it to advance.—C. R. Whyte, British Journal of Psychiatry

Brilliant… The gradual unfolding of Mitchell’s new theory is accomplished through a dazzling series of thoughtful and penetrating critiques and integrations of psychoanalytic theorizing past and present. Mitchell is extraordinarily well read in psychoanalytic theory, and he has a wide grasp of philosophy, political theory, and literature as well. He writes with clarity and wit, making a long, largely theoretical book as easy to read as any. His text will be an important source of useful ideas and criticism for the continuing development of psychoanalytic theory. The opportunity to share in his wide and searching understanding should not be missed by anyone interested in the field.—Robert L. Hatcher, Ph.D., Psychoanalytic Books

A well-written, incisive, and very intelligent effort at integrating compatible aspects of the many neo-Freudian psychoanalytic theorists e.g., Sullivan, Klein, Winnicott, Loewald, Schafer, Kohut, Kernberg, Gedo, and Pine… Importantly, [Mitchell] shows how far modern analytic theory has departed from Freud’s original instinctual drive theory… His work is a contemporary beacon in the tumultuous seas of psychological thought since Freud. Essential reading.Choice

This important work is an articulate and incisive elaboration of what the author considers to be a fundamental paradigm shift in psychoanalysis, from a superseded drive psychology to an interactional psychology embedded in a relational matrix which he argues is shared in common by a diversity of current perspectives—the object relational, the interpersonal, the Kleinian, and the self psychological. His thesis is that the conception of the object-relational matrix which these various newer theoretical perspectives share, despite all their differences in emphasis and in implementation, provides a more elegant and satisfying explanatory framework for the clinical phenomena of psychoanalysis than does Freud’s original drive psychology paradigm, which can now be respectfully retired. Many will disagree, and very sharply; I think all will profit from reading this carefully reasoned argument.—Robert S. Wallerstein, M.D.

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