Who's Behind the Couch?: The Heart and Mind of the Psychoanalyst

Editor : Robert Winer, Editor : Kerry L. Malawista

Who's Behind the Couch?: The Heart and Mind of the Psychoanalyst

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : June 2017
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 384
  • Category :
    Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 34738
  • ISBN 13 : 9781782200727
  • ISBN 10 : 178220072X
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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 seventeen 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. Yet 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.

The interviewees featured are: Stefano Bolognini (Italy), Richard Waugaman (United States), Ilany Kogan (Israel), Rosemary Balsam (United States), Joseph Lichtenberg (United States), Werner Bohleber (Germany), Salman Akhtar (United States), Cláudio Eizirik (Brazil), Nancy McWilliams (United States), Abel Fainstein (Argentina), Nancy Chodorow (United States), Gerhard Schneider (Germany). Jay Greenberg (United States). Raquel Berman (Mexico). David Tuckett (United Kingdom), Jane Kite (United States) and Donald Moss (United States).

Reviews and 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 Tubingen

‘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

About the Editor(s)

Robert Winer, MD, is a teaching analyst at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, where he is chair of the faculty. He is co-founder and co-chair of the following training programs – New Directions: Writing with a Psychoanalytic Edge, Close Attention, and The Psychoanalytic Studies Program at the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis. He has taught at various Washington area universities, professional training programs, and mental health facilities. Dr Winer is the author of Close Encounter: A Relational View of the Therapeutic Process, and has written and presented extensively on film, the family, and other subjects of psychoanalytic interest. He is a member of the editorial advisory board of Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes. Dr Winer is in private practice in Bethesda, MD.

More titles by Robert Winer

Kerry L. Malawista, MSW, PhD, is a training and supervising analyst at the Contemporary Freudian Society and co-chair of New Directions in Writing at the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis. She is permanent faculty at the Contemporary Freudian Society and has taught at George Washington University Psychology Doctoral Program, Virginia Commonwealth University and Smith College School of Social Work. She is the co-author of Wearing My Tutu to Analysis and Other Stories and co-editor of The Therapist in Mourning: From the Faraway Nearby. Her essays have appeared nationally in newspapers, magazines, and literary journals including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Zone 3, Washingtonian Magazine, Voice, and The Account Magazine alongside many professional chapters and articles. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, and I scurrently in private practice in Potomac, MD, and McLean, VA.

More titles by Kerry L. Malawista

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