Self-examination and self-critique: for psychoanalytic patients, this is the conduit to growth. Yet within the field, psychoanalysts haven’t sufficiently utilized their own methodology or subjected their own preferred approaches to systematic and critical self-examination. Across theoretical divides, psychoanalytic writers and clinicians have too often responded to criticism with defensiveness rather than reflectivity.
This book is a first in the history of psychoanalysis; it takes internal dissension and difference seriously rather than defensively. De-Idealizing Relational Theory attempts to rectify this for the relational field. Rather than saying that the other’s reading of relational theory is wrong, distorted, or a misrepresentation, this book is interested in querying how theory lends itself to such characterizations. How have psychoanalysts participated in conveying this portrayal to their critics? Might this dissension illuminate blind-spot(s) and highlight new areas of growth? It’s a challenge to engage in psychoanalytic self-critique. To do so requires that we move beyond our own assumptions and deeply held beliefs about what moves the treatment process and how we can best function within it. To step aside from ourselves, to question the assumed, to take the critiques of others seriously, demands more than an absence of defensiveness. It requires that we step into the shoes of the psychoanalytic Other and suspend not only our theories, but our emotional investment in them.
Each chapter critically assesses and examines aspects of relational theory and technique, considers its current state and its relations to other psychoanalytic approaches. De-Idealizing Relational Theory will appeal to all relational psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists.
Lewis Aron, Ph.D. is director of the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. He has served as President of the Division of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association; founding President of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP); founding President of the Division of Psychologist-Psychoanalysts of the New York State Psychological Association (NYSPA). He holds a Diplomate in Psychoanalysis from the American Board of Professional Psychology and is a Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and of the Academy of Psychoanalysis. Dr. Aron is the author and editor of numerous scholarly articles and books including A Meeting of Minds. He was one of the founders, and is an Associate Editor of the journal, Psychoanalytic Dialogues and is the co-editor of the Relational Perspectives Book Series, Routledge.
Sue Grand, Ph.D., is faculty and supervisor at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, where she holds a specialization in trauma as well as family and couples. In addition, she is faculty at the Mitchell Center for Relational Psychoanalysis, the Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis, the National Institute for the Psychotherapies, and the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California. She is an associate editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues and author of The Reproduction of Evil (Analytic Press, 2000), and has a private practive in New York City and Teaneck, NJ.
Joyce Slochower is Professor Emerita at Hunter College and Graduate Center, the City University of New York. She is on the Faculty of the New York University Postdoctoral Program, the Steven Mitchell Center, the National Training Program of the National Institute for the Psychotherapies, the Philadelphia Center for Relational Studies, and the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California in San Francisco. She is the author of two books and over sixty papers. She is in private practice in New York City.