Good Feelings
Psychoanalytic Reflections on Positive Emotions and Attitudes

Edited by Salman Akhtar MD
Paper: 978 1 85575 780 6 / $76.95
Published: August 2009  

Publisher: Karnac Books
520 pp., 6 1/4" x 9 1/4"
This tightly edited volume opens a new vista in psychoanalysis by focusing upon positive and life-enhancing emotions and attitudes. The realms it covers include love, friendship, enthusiasm, courage, tact, resilience, and forgiveness, among others. Seminal papers on these topics have existed but remain scattered throughout the psychoanalytic literature. This book brings them together in a harmonious gestalt. It is more than an anthology, however. Each paper is followed by a freshly written commentary that critically evaluates the paper and brings it in consonance with up-to-date, contemporary psychoanalytic knowledge. Issues of development, adaptation, psychopathology, and analytic technique, as these pertain to the positive dimension of affective experience, are elucidated.

The book also deals with the broader and overarching issue of the ‘goodness’ that accompanies, causes, and is enhanced by the positive emotions in consideration here. Thus the ever-elusive and puzzling issue of psychoanalytic morality finds a place in the discourse, with all its rich and complex theoretical and technical implications. The fact that the contributors to this volume come from all around the globe (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, and the United States) and represent a variety of psychoanalytic cultures adds flux and spice to the optimistic message of the text. Together the voices of these gifted psychoanalysts create an intelligent symphony of wisdom, listening to which is not only instructive to the mind but a joy to the senses as well.

Reviews & Endorsements:
"This extraordinary book is devoted to a psychoanalytic exploration of good feelings, that is, positive enotions and attitudes such as love, friendship, courage, enthusiasm, resilience, faith and many more. It is unusual not only in its subject matter, so rarely touched upon in our literature, but also in the breadth of its contributions from close to a dozen countries throughout the analytic world. It provides fascinating reading for those of us who, after those days when we are immersed in the anger, grief and pain of our practice, need to be reminded once again of the goodness that is also part of the human condition."
- Dr. Sheldon Bach, Faculty: IPTAR and NY Freudian Society and author of Getting from Here to There