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Barratt, B.B. (1994). The Intimate Edge: Extending the Reach of Psychoanalytic Interaction: by Darlene Bregman Ehrenberg (New York: Norton, 1992, xiv + 210 pp.). Psychoanal. Dial., 4(2):275-281.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 4(2):275-281

The Intimate Edge: Extending the Reach of Psychoanalytic Interaction: by Darlene Bregman Ehrenberg (New York: Norton, 1992, xiv + 210 pp.) Related Papers

Review by:
Barnaby B. Barratt, Ph.D.

This richly rewarding work belongs in the syllabus of every psychoanalytic institute for it is an exquisitely crafted exposition of the “interpersonalist approach” to the clinical method of psychoanalysis. The book is a culmination of two decades in which Darlene Bregman Ehrenberg has offered us a series of first-rate essays on the clinical methodology of “psychoanalytic engagement” (most of which appeared in Contemporary Psychoanalysis). Ehrenberg is outstanding not only in her capacity for clinical thoughtfulness but also in her ability to communicate vividly the power and the subtlety of clinical encounter, explicating compellingly her views of the processes at work and play in psychoanalytic discourse. Her capacity to record and evoke the complexity of her relations with patients is as remarkable as her capacity to link her “technical” illustrations with her theoretical convictions. The latter talent is not, of course, without its liabilities in a field that is too deeply committed to argumentation by anecdote—a matter to which I will return shortly. Nevertheless, in my opinion, Ehrenberg has placed herself definitively in the ranks of the most skillful psychoanalytic lyricists on the contemporary scene: as far as I am concerned, The Intimate Edge is simply the best text now available on the practice of “interpersonalist clinical method.”

The book sets out “to take the reader into the intimacy of the consulting room to illustrate some ways in which recognition of the interactive nature of the analytic field has profound and radical implications


Barnaby B. Barratt, Ph.D., a practicing psychoanalyst in the greater Detroit area, is on the faculty of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute. He recently published his second book, Psychoanalysis and the Postmodern Impulse: Knowing and Being since Freud's Psychology.

© 1994 The Analytic Press, Inc.

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