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Weisel-Barth, J. (2019). Review of “Dramatic Dialogue: Contemporary Clinical Practice” by Galit Atlas and Lewis Aron. Psychoanal. Self. Cxt., 14(2):224-230.

(2019). Psychoanalysis, Self, and Context, 14(2):224-230

Review of “Dramatic Dialogue: Contemporary Clinical Practice” by Galit Atlas and Lewis Aron

Joye Weisel-Barth, Ph.D., Psy.D.

To capture the analytic process in Dramatic Dialogue: Contemporary Clinical Practice Galit Atlas and Lewis Aron use the metaphor of dramatic interaction, of actors on a stage, to “bring together the relational emphasis on multiple self-states and enactment with the Bionian conceptions of reverie and dreaming-up the patient” (p.1). Whereas previously “Psychoanalysis has worked with the ideational content of the person’s internal world of thought and fantasy” to create a narration about the patient, the dramatic point of view now sees therapeutic action constituted by two people in continual interaction, actors more than thinkers. The authors suggest,

Our model of dramatic dialogues invites the patient’s and the analyst’s many self-states onto the analytic stage to dream a mutual dream and live together the past and the future, as they appear in the present moment… a drama of psyches in dialogue. P.1

This description also captures the authors’ collaborative process here; in the book Atlas and Aron enact an intersubjective negotiation, each bringing their various self-states as they jointly present a broad view of contemporary psychoanalysis. Their view of dramatic dialogue has many component parts that are sometimes well integrated and sometimes barely cobbled together, a reflection perhaps of each author’s unique sensibilities and the particular ways these separate sensibilities come together in relationship. To the task Aron brings a clarity of thinking and a sweeping knowledge of analytic theory and clinical approaches, and Atlas brings a lyrical gift, metaphorical imagination, and lovely clinical sense. His mind is more analytical, historical, and linear; hers more bent to the unseen, mysterious, and uncanny.

[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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