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Who's Behind the Couch?
The Heart and Mind of the Psychoanalyst
Robert Winer MD
Kerry L. Malawista MSW, PhD
Paper: 978 1 78220 072 7 / $54.95
Published: May 2017
6" x 9"
What is it like to be a working psychoanalyst? And what is it like to be held in the mind of one? These were the questions that led Winer and Malawista to interview 17 notable analysts from around the world.
Who’s Behind the Couch?: The Heart and the Mind of the Psychoanalyst
explores the analyst’s mind at work, not so much from a theoretical perspective but rather from the complexities and richness inherent in every moment-to-moment clinical encounter. As analysts, we are all continually challenged to find what might work best with a particular patient, but we don’t often hear senior analysts share their personal struggles, feelings, and sensibilities.
To understand the internal experience of analysts the authors posed questions such as: What is it like for analysts to manage rough spots, to lose ground and try to recapture it? To feel appreciated and then to feel devalued? To feel betrayed? To feel responsibility for someone’s life while working to maintain their own balance? These questions and others probed the interior life of the analysts interviewed, touching on a range of feelings from love to hate, envy and rage, to desire and longing.
While this book will be of interest to practitioners, it should also be of interest to those considering or engaging in treatment. At a time when the relevance of psychoanalysis is challenged, personal reflections of the analyst enrich our understanding of the deep and meaningful relationship that illuminates the depth and vibrancy of psychoanalytic practice today.
Table of Contents:
About the Editors
1) Stefano Bolognini (Italy)—Editors’ comments on the Stefano Bolognini interview
2) Richard Waugaman (United States)—Editors’ comments on the Richard Waugaman interview
3) Ilany Kogan (Israel)—Editors’ comments on the Ilany Kogan interview
4) Rosemary Balsam (United States)—Editors’ comments on the Rosemary Balsam interview
5) Joseph Lichtenberg (United States)—Editors’ comments on the Joseph Lichtenberg interview
6) Werner Bohleber (Germany)—Editors’ comments on the Werner Bohleber interview
7) Salman Akhtar (United States)—Editors’ comments on the Salman Akhtar interview
8) Cláudio Eizirik (Brazil)—Editors’ comments on the Cláudio Eizirik interview
9) Nancy McWilliams (United States)—Editors’ comments on the Nancy McWilliams interview
9) Abel Fainstein (Argentina)—Editors’ comments on the Abel Fainstein interview
10) Nancy Chodorow (United States)—Editors’ comments on the Nancy Chodorow interview
12 Gerhard Schneider (Germany)—Editors’ comments on the Gerhard Schneider interview
13) Jay Greenberg (United States)—Editors’ comments on the Jay Greenberg interview
14) Raquel Berman (Mexico)—Editors’ comments on the Raquel Berman interview
15) David Tuckett (United Kingdom)—Editors’ comments on the David Tuckett interview
16) Jane Kite (United States)—Editors’ comments on the Jane Kite interview
17) Donald Moss (United States)—Editors’ comments on the Donald Moss interview
Reviews & Endorsements:
"Rich with a plethora of fascinating, and often surprising, clinical vignettes,
Who’s Behind the Couch?
reveals to its readers why seventeen prominent psychoanalysts, from around the world and different theoretical orientations, decided to join their profession; what a great variety of often incompatible views they believe in; how they become personally affected by their practices; and how they deal with the difficult situations they encounter. We are thus given privileged access here to who they really are: not only as analysts inside their consulting room, but also as people outside of it."
- Andrea Sabbadini, author of Boundaries and Bridges: Perspectives on Time and Space in Psychoanalysis and Moving Images: Psychoanalytic Reflections on Film
"The editors’ aim was not to present these psychoanalysts’ theoretical ideas, but to tell their personal stories. It is this unique viewpoint – the inner worlds of these psychoanalysts – that makes
Who’s Behind the Couch?
interesting. It will appeal not only to those in the mental health field, but to anyone interested in human nature and what goes on in a psychoanalyst’s office."
- Vamik D. Volkan, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry and the author of Immigrants and Refugees: Trauma, Perennial Mourning, and Border Psychology
"With humour and honesty, experienced clinicians talk about the pain and privilege of doing psychoanalytic work. The opportunities for growth by both patient and analyst are movingly described, as are the misunderstandings that can make the work so difficult. An intimate portrait of life behind the couch."
- Daniel Jacobs, MD, supervising and training analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute Faculty, Harvard Medical School
Who’s behind the couch?
is the most burning question for patients or candidates beginning psychoanalysis, before they approach the personal question: “Who am I?”. These interviews with senior analysts show what personal struggles, feelings and creativities are necessary to help the analysand to find this shift, to make a “patient-centred” psychoanalytic technique, and to achieve the attitude of a continuously present listener."
- Peter Wegner, training and supervising analyst of the German Psychoanalytical Association (DPV/IPA) in private practice in Tübingen
"Years ago, the analyst’s anonymity was key, with the analyst sitting behind the couch in order not to reveal himself. This book turns everything upside down: analysts lie on the couch, and with complete self-disclosure seem to take their clothes off. There is no other book that better exemplifies the changes occurring in our way of conceiving psychoanalytic theory and practice. This book is really worth reading, it has a lot to teach: to therapists, to patients, and also to non-professional readers."
- Paolo Migone, editor of the journal Psicoterapia e Scienze Umane
"Based on a highly interesting set of questions, Robert Winer and Kerry L. Malawista brilliantly explore the personal experiences of the psychoanalyst. Feelings such as love and hate, anger, hopelessness, and facing death (patient or analyst) are in play. We are invited into the analyst’s subjectivity. The editors’ comments on each interview enrich this venture, relaunching debates about the impact of the analyst’s gender, cultural differences, trauma and memories, leaving also a space open for uncertainty."
- Leticia Glocer Fiorini, former president of the Argentine Psychoanalytic Association
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