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Eckardt, M.H. (1999). Building Bridges: The Negotiation of Paradox in Psychoanalysis: Stuart Pizer, Analytic Press, Hillsdale, NJ, 1998, 220 pp., $39.95.. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 27(4):687-690.

(1999). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 27(4):687-690

Building Bridges: The Negotiation of Paradox in Psychoanalysis: Stuart Pizer, Analytic Press, Hillsdale, NJ, 1998, 220 pp., $39.95.

Review by:
Marianne Horney Eckardt

Our spirits, dampened by the avalanche of fair and unfair challenges of psychoanalysis, are in need of a fresh vitalizing approach to our theory and practice. I have welcomed the concerted efforts of these past years to bring into focus the challenges presented by the multidimensionality of human existence. Stuart Pizer has been in the forefront of such an endeavor, associated with a group embracing postmodern relational perspective in psychoanalytic theorizing. The human mind prefers framing ideas in forms of dichotomies or polarities. It does not easily accommodate existing multiplicity, much less contradictory multiplicity. This book attempts to facilitate the embracing of this multidimensionality by providing us with pivotal key concepts that point to complexity. These key concepts are (a) the dynamic importance of paradoxes in our existence, (b) the art of negotiating paradoxes or bridging them, and (c) the notion of multiple divided selves in preference to the idea of one self entity.

Unfortunately, I do not find this organizing terminology fortuitous, especially as it becomes too dominant and defeats its purpose. The terms were supposedly designed as a means to the end of highlighting therapeutic approaches that truly incorporate respect for the multitudinous aspects of whatever we are dealing with. But when the means take over and become verbal icons, the goal gets lost.

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