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Elkind, S.N. (2002). Building Bridges: The Negotiation of Paradox in Psychoanalysis by Stuart A. Pizer: On Reading in a Potential Space. Psychoanal. Dial., 12(2):285-298.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 12(2):285-298

Building Bridges: The Negotiation of Paradox in Psychoanalysis by Stuart A. Pizer: On Reading in a Potential Space Related Papers

Review by:
Sue N. Elkind, Ph.D.

In this review essay, I provide a summary of the basic tenets of Stuart A. Pizer's book, Building Bridges: The Negotiation of Paradox in Psychoanalysis. Focusing on the concepts of negotiation, paradox, and potential space, he privileges them as constituting the basic structure and process of the analytic relationship. Therapeutic action resides specifically in the analyst's optimizing of the potential space within which intrapsychic and interpersonal negotiation can occur. Negotiating paradox is a uniquely human capacity, difficult to sustain, but essential for a “distributed” self, one that is decentered and dynamic rather than disassociated. Pizer extends the reach of these concepts by developing them in relation to gender, evolution, species, and mediation. He also considers that which is nonnegotiable, a relational property between analyst and patient, at the brink of which deep analysis occurs. The book, with its elegant theoretical model and clinically useful tool, provides a rich potential space within which I was able to engage fruitfully.

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