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The Second Century of Psychoanalysis

Evolving Perspectives on Therapeutic Action

Cover of the book The Second Century of Psychoanalysis


  • Editors: Michael J. Diamond, Christopher Christian

  • Publisher: Karnac

  • ISBN: 978-0429907906

  • 1st Edition

  • Publication date: 2011

  • Pages: 394

  • Copyright Year: 2011


In addressing the theory of therapeutic action underlying multiple psychoanalytic perspectives, this book’s West Coast psychoanalytic clinician-scholars reflect on essential ideas about the “mechanisms of change” that makes psychoanalysis work. Each chapter author brings open-minded, independent thinking to his or her contribution, balancing tradition with innovation. From a range of theoretical perspectives, the authors emphasize diverse ways by which the therapeutic aims of analysis are achieved, drawing, for example, on ego psychology and modern conflict theory, classical theory, contemporary object relations theory and neo-Kleinian theory, attachment theory, and self-psychological theory, as well as total composite theory and pluralistic perspectives. Contributors are: Hedda Bolgar, Christopher Christian, Michael J. Diamond, Morris Eagle, Tom Helscher, Nancy Hollander, Beth Kalish, Peggy Porter, Stephen Portuges, Leo Rangell, Linda Sobelman, Alan Spivak, and Peter Wolson.


Why We Edited and Contributed to This Book

My co-editor, Chris Christian, and I sought to gather a group of accomplished psychoanalytic clinician-scholars who are based in Los Angeles and are members of the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies (LAISPS), and to invite them to reflect on their ideas about what makes psychoanalysis work. We believe it is important for analysts to speak more clearly to one another about what we actually do and how we understand its impact on our patients. Building bridges between diverse schools is but one of the many advantages accruing from the study of therapeutic action in psychoanalysis.



The papers in this volume provide one of the best available overviews of contemporary thinking about therapeutic action. This book will engage and inform anybody who is interested in the current state of clinical theory in psychoanalysis and dynamic psychotherapy by challenging us to think about what we do, why we do it, and what effect we are having on our patients. Jay Greenberg, Ph.D., Psychoanalyst
This unique, timely, and up to date collection of original papers on the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis by renowned senior clinicians and theoreticians from Los Angeles is the only volume of which I am aware that has under a single cover such theoretical and clinical richness on the vital importance of the rationale for and conduct of our lengthy, painstaking, and ambitious method of treatment. Melvin R. Lansky, M.D., Psychoanalyst
Diamond and Christian's timely and well organized volume brings together a collection of thoughtful and engaging reflections on the nature of therapeutic change that take into account intrapsychic and intersubjective factors, insight and relationship, and the uniquencess of the individual dyad. This book will deepen our study of these healing processes. Lewis Aron, Ph.D., Psychoanalyst
Europeans are used to thinking about North American psychoanalysis as an archipelago of groups rather isolated from one another. In this innovative and very interesting text, we see influential Californian psychoanalysts accomplishing a great choral work to integrate the different theoretical-clinical trends with convincing and deeply harmonious results. Stefano Bolognini, M.D., Psychoanalyst
"Diamond and Christian have assembled a rich array of thoughtful and evocative clinical papers. The book is a marvelous collection of deep and thought provoking chapters, some of which alone are worth the price of the volume and more. Several chapters read like wonderful literature while at the same time adding significantly to our clinical understanding, while other chapters are so convincingly written that I found myself almost able to embrace ideas different from my own. Steven J. Ellman, Ph.D., Psychoanalyst
This inspired collection of essays written by faculty members of the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies (LAISPS) reviews core issues of psychoanalysis through new lenses while having the energy and passion of discussions behind it. Of immediate use to many in the field while offering a major contribution to psychoanalytic studies, the book clearly celebrates this distinctive psychoanalytical society while bringing the renewing visions of West Coast psychoanalysis to the world of psychoanalysis at large. Christopher Bollas, Ph.D., Psychoanalyst


"This collection of thirteen essays weaves multiple lines of thought, research, and practice on therapeutic action in the context of psychoanalysis. The essays stress theoretical and clinical pluralism, striving to bring a higher synthesis out of a century of competing theories. Organized into five sections, the essays consider the history and philosophical milieu of psychoanalysis for contextualizing therapeutic action, especially legacy of the Enlightenment; conflict, fantasy and insight in therapeutic action; analytic love in relational experience and mutative dynamics; unconscious communication, internalization and non-verbal processes in mental experience and therapeutic action; and a retrospective on dogma and clinical flexibility by a 101-year-old psychoanalyst." —Book News Inc.

“Coeditors and contributors Michael J. Diamond and Christopher Christian have crafted a veritable psychoanalytic textbook that traverses the history, evolutionary shifts, and new developments in our field from its inception. The book …brings home the point that our analytic past is very much alive in and relevant to our theoretical and clinical present....The Second Century of Psychoanalysis is not only a good read, but of great value to both seasoned and novice analysts alike---a welcome addition to any psychoanalytic training program and to any psychoanalytic library. It is a reminder of where we have been, gives an excellent take on where we are, and offers much to ponder in terms of ongoing research into what is valuable and mutative about our sometimes impossible, but mostly gratifying, profession.” Psychoanalytic Psychology

“The catchy title of this book is somewhat misleading! It is more about therapeutic action. The volume is a fine, edited collection of papers about that subject and…leads one to wonder what psychoanalysis would be like eighty years from now. The book’s contributions by two of our most long-lived and creative analysts deserve special note...: Leo Rangell... and Hedda Bolgar... This collection is a testament to the thoughtfulness and seriousness of the contributions of those trained in independent psychoanalytic institutes.” The Psychoanalytic Quarterly

“This book, a collection of original papers on the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis, addresses questions often raised but seldom answered satisfactorily, at least not to the point that anything approaching consensus has been reached. It is hard in a review to do justice to a volume as rich as this....It would appear that psychoanalysis is alive and well in the hands of these LAISPS psychoanalysts, and that their future (and ours) is bright as psychoanalysis moves deeper into its second century.” Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association

“A new volume of essays by West Coast psychoanalysts takes on the question of analytic change. Michael J. Diamond and Christopher Christian bring together an ensemble of seasoned voices, each of whom addresses a different aspect of mutative change....There is much to say about what works in psychoanalysis, and these original papers from Los Angeles clinicians and theoreticians provide a thorough discussion of curative factors, from the intrapsychic to the intersubjective, from the interpretive to the relational.” Psychoanalytic Review


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