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Clulow, C. (2012). Relational Psychoanalysis, Volume 5: Evolution of Process, edited by Lewis Aron & Adrienne Harris, New York/London: Routledge, 2012.. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 2(1):114-115.

(2012). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 2(1):114-115

Relational Psychoanalysis, Volume 5: Evolution of Process, edited by Lewis Aron & Adrienne Harris, New York/London: Routledge, 2012.

Review by:
Christopher Clulow, Ph.D.

Relational psychoanalysis is a term originating in the United States and closely associated with the work of psychoanalyst Stephen Mitchell, who died in 2000. The term was first used by him and a fellow colleague (Greenberg & Mitchell, 1983) to bridge object relations and interpersonal psychoanalysis. Since then it has evolved to encompass a broad reach of disciplines that inform relational configurations between self and others, both real and fantasised, as the focus of the psychoanalytic enterprise. So the term does not define a new school of thought. Instead, it traces the relational strands from existing psychoanalytic traditions as they converge to mark out an important domain of contemporary psychoanalysis. As such it is of huge importance to psychoanalytically informed couple and family psychotherapists, whose bread and butter is working with interactions between psychic and environmental realities.

This (Aron & Harris, 2012b) and the other four volumes in the series (Aron & Harris, 2005, 2012a; Mitchell & Aron, 1999; Suchet, Harris, & Aron, 2007) appear as part of the wider Relational Perspectives Book Series published by Routledge, which constitutes a formidable body of work charting the emergence of this new tradition. For the uninitiated, these five volumes (along with Mitchell's own exploration of the ‘relational turn’ in psychoanalysis, published in 2000) provide a good way in.

There is no way a brief review like this can do justice to the scope and diversity of approaches that combine to make up the whole. In any case, these are books for dipping into, rather than reading from start to end.

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