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Carey, F. (2013). Mirroring and Attunement: Self-realization in Psychoanalysis and Art by Kenneth Wright. Published by Routledge, London and New York, 2009; 212 pp; £23.99 paperback.. Brit. J. Psychother., 29(1):119-122.

(2013). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 29(1):119-122

Mirroring and Attunement: Self-realization in Psychoanalysis and Art by Kenneth Wright. Published by Routledge, London and New York, 2009; 212 pp; £23.99 paperback.

Review by:
Faye Carey

This collection of essays focuses on the impact of the mother's capacity for attunement with her baby, as a foundation for the symbolic development that underpins the potential for an integrated, creative self. Further, according to author Kenneth Wright, it is the mother's face, and specifically the gaze between herself and her infant, that embodies this essential preverbal communication.

The author tells us that all the papers in this collection are concerned in some way with symbolic processing and its roots in mother-infant relatedness, and it is clear as you move through the volume that its chapters form a series of related essays and themes held together with a varied running stitch that vividly reflects his preoccupation with the relationship between psychoanalysis, language, the creative arts and spiritual life. This diversity of source endows the book with a discursive and lively quality that can be appealing but that is also, at times, distracting.

Broadly, Wright continues his exploration into the innovative concepts and insights of D. W Winnicott (1967) (principally with regard to ‘mirroring’ and ‘holding’) and Wilfred Bion (1962a, 1962b, 1965) (with regard to ‘containing’) as these relate to early, preverbal, symbolic development in the psychological and emotional life of the infant, and considers these functions in relation to interpretation, language, and other, perhaps less conventional, forms of communication in the psychoanalytic encounter.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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