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Kanwal, G. (2017). The Psychoanalytic Vision: The Experiencing Subject, Transcendence, and the Therapeutic Process by Frank Summers Routledge, London, 2013; 209 pp; $48.95. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 98(2):549-553.

(2017). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 98(2):549-553

The Psychoanalytic Vision: The Experiencing Subject, Transcendence, and the Therapeutic Process by Frank Summers Routledge, London, 2013; 209 pp; $48.95

Review by:
Gurmeet Kanwal

Psychoanalysis is generally thought of as a listening and talking profession. As such, its sensory focus tends to be on the auditory. The title of Frank Summer's book, however, captures our attention because of its emphasis on the visual rather than the auditory. The psychoanalytic vision upsets the practitioners’ cart by asking them to see, rather than to hear. To have a vision is not what one usually thinks of as a psychoanalyst's position. At first glance one wonders how serious a slim volume titled The psychoanalytic vision, with a cover illustration of an enticing beach and palm trees at dawn, can really be? Summers, however, is making a deliberate and profound point in introducing the notion of a ‘vision’ into a profession dominated by audition. No matter how acute one's hearing, one cannot hear ahead. One can hear only what is being said now, not what is yet to come. One can, however, see ahead, thus making vision a sensory modality of futurity. One can see a path stretching into the distance before one has begun to walk on it. Summers exhorts the psychoanalytic practitioner to stop relying solely on listening to the patient, and to begin to see with the patient. That is, to allow the subject and her subjectivity to reveal her unfulfilled potential, and make a conscious effort to facilitate its recognition, excogitation, and evolution (could it be that the sea shore on the cover is really an ideogram?).

Summers is not suggesting that we disregard history,

[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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