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Zelnick, L. (2017). In the Room Where It Happened: A Discussion of A. Joelson, I Think, Therefore I Am Not Alone: Thinking Obsessionally in a Relational World. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 16(1):12-14.

(2017). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 16(1):12-14

Commentary

In the Room Where It Happened: A Discussion of A. Joelson, I Think, Therefore I Am Not Alone: Thinking Obsessionally in a Relational World Related Papers

Lawrence Zelnick, Psy.D.

Generously and graciously, Amy Joelson has invited the reader into her consulting room and into her prolific mind so that we can be as close as possible to her work with Cody. Just as Cody invited Joelson to think with him, it is only from up close that one can witness the unfolding of her long and patient work with this obsessional boy. Joelson could have easily shared her insights about Cody and described the peak moments of enactment and left it to us to piece together the rest on our own. Joelson’s writing and her evocative narrative style would have stood on its own. But this is an article as much about theory, therapeutic action, and the evolution of Joelson’s relationship to them as it is about Cody. She is “haunted” by the specter of classical psychoanalytic theory about obsessive thinking and its defensive functioning. Further, she is compelled to first explicate Freud’s thinking about obsessions before shaking off years of living therapeutically in its shadow before ushering us into a very different “room” in which Joelson reveals an integration of her newly acquired analytic theoretical sensibility. From Kohut to Sullivan to Stolorow and Atwood to Lachmann and Beebe and complexity theory, Joelson makes what feels like an airtight case for jettisoning the ghosts of the old haunted rooms to her present current and comprehensive theory.

Beginning with the overarching premise that affect and thought are inseparably bound together

[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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