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Niemira, J.C. (2011). Mystical Object Relations: A Review of Michael Eigen's Flames from the Unconscious Karnac Books (2009), 176 pages. Psychoanal. Perspect., 8(2):252-258.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 8(2):252-258

Book Review

Mystical Object Relations: A Review of Michael Eigen's Flames from the Unconscious Karnac Books (2009), 176 pages

Review by:
Jan C. Niemira, LCSW

Michael eigen's recent book, flames from the uncon scious: Trauma, Madness, and Faith, comprises a collection of papers, clinically generated material, and an interview. The book concludes with an appended stage adaptation reprising one analysand's powerful and moving associations from an earlier chapter. As the title suggests, the book is organized less around a central premise than around a series of intertwined and interrelated threads. So while the book is a complex tapestry of ideas, I would like to point to some of the themes and follow them as they wind through the greater whole.

It should be noted at the outset that Eigen uses language, as he points out, much the way Winnicott did. What is important in the book comes not only from what is explicitly stated but from what is implicit in the text and what is meta-communicated within, between, and among the essays. In this way, and again, like Winnicott, the author simultaneously relocates and preserves the significant contributions of his theoretical forebearers while inviting his reader to create/discover new meaning.

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