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Tip: To sort articles by sourceā€¦

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Source. This will rearrange the results of your search, displaying articles according to their appearance in journals and books. This feature is useful for tracing psychoanalytic concepts in a specific psychoanalytic tradition.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Ghent, E. (2002). The Emergent Ego: Complexity and Coevolution in the Psychoanalytic Process: Stanley R. Palombo. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, 1999, 395 pp., $65.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 50(1):352-356.

(2002). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 50(1):352-356

The Emergent Ego: Complexity and Coevolution in the Psychoanalytic Process: Stanley R. Palombo. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, 1999, 395 pp., $65.00.

Review by:
Emmanuel Ghent

The book begins just so: “There is something new under the sun in psychoanalysis.” With this exciting opener, Stanley Palombo heralds a new conceptual universe for psychoanalysis. This wonderful and timely book is both very complex and very simple. In its overall thrust the message is straightforward: Palombo recasts the psychoanalytic process as an evolutionary process. Much of the book is occupied with spelling out in compelling detail what this means. He is not using the term evolutionary process lightly. He first invites the reader to join him in a sophisticated exploration of contemporary evolutionary theory, focusing particularly on the self-emergent properties of the nonlinear cause-and-effect relations that characterize complexity theory. From here, Palombo takes the reader on a remarkable journey whose overall purpose is to reveal how the new science of complexity offers to psychoanalysis a way of thinking about the psychoanalytic process as coevolutionary, a process in which analyst and patient evolve together much as an ecological system does. The psychoanalytic partners form a loosely coupled self-organizing system, the components of which are themselves tightly coupled self-organizing systems. Palombo advises the reader not to equate the implied gradualism of Darwinian evolution of species with the matter at hand.

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