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Schwartz, A.E. (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):293-301.
(1994). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 4(2):293-301
The Intimate Edge: Extending the Reach of Psychoanalytic Interaction: by Darlene Bregman Ehrenberg (New York: Norton, 1992 xiv + 210 pp.)
Review by: Adria E. Schwartz, Ph.D.
In her intriguing and intentionally provocative book, The Intimate Edge: Extending the Reach of Psychoanalytic Interaction, Darlene Bregman Ehrenberg presents a panoply of her work that at once encompasses and transcends her previous writing in areas of intimate relatedness within psychoanalysis.
Like Loewald (1960), she clearly distinguishes between a theory of technique and a theory of therapeutic action. Technique is “what we do with awareness and intention” while therapeutic action has to do with “what is healing in the psychoanalytic interaction” whether or not it evolves from “technique” (p. ix). In lieu of presenting a more traditionally linear theory of therapeutic action, Dr. Ehrenberg offers an episodic narrative or “telling” of her work in which she illustrates the therapeutic action within a context of highlighting different areas of analytic concern, including structuring the analytic encounter, countertransference and countertransferenceresistance, and working-through.
Her view of psychoanalysis is systemic and interactional. Through talk and silence, through the nuance of body language and the affective feel of the analytic space, analyst and patient cannot help but have what Beebe, Jaffe, and Lachmann (1992) refer to as a biodirectional impact on each other.
Working microanalytically at the “intimate edge,” those points of “maximum and acknowledged contact at any given moment in a relationship without fusion, without violation of the separateness and
Dr. Schwartz is Clinical Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai Medical Center; and Faculty and Supervisor, Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, and the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center.