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Stimmel, B. (2000). Building Bridges: The Negotiation of Paradox in Psychoanalysis: Stuart A. Pizer. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press. 1998. Pp. 220.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(2):371-373.

(2000). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 81(2):371-373

Building Bridges: The Negotiation of Paradox in Psychoanalysis: Stuart A. Pizer. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press. 1998. Pp. 220.

Review by:
Barbara Stimmel

This book is illustrative of an element in the swirling controversy in psychoanalysis as practised and conceived in the United States. In this review, I hope to bring to the international readership a flavour of this state of affairs in a country which prides itself on its diversity, but which also struggles constantly with the resulting strains that are felt in our profession.

In a book ambitious in scope, Stuart Pizer is attempting to bring to life, with evocative clinical examples and extensive descriptive language, the kind of work done by a relational psychoanalyst; for example, Part II builds from genders to species to nations. Pizer's clinical writing gives a full flavour of the way he and the relational group work. It is far too easy and even tempting for the reviewer to respond to others’ clinical descriptions from her own perspective. A greater problem than simply opposing one unprovable clinical point with another is that we have not yet discovered an effective way to cross the clinical chasm that separates several of our schools of thought. I would prefer to point out that this book should help the reader to define more clearly where she stands in relation to a segment of the analytic population which is developing an increasingly strong voice.

Pizer uses his book as a platform to elaborate on the concept of intervention found in a quote by Loewald. Pizer interprets this idea, concerning the mobilisation of patients’ ego function, as the conversion of intervention into negotiation.

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