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Russell, J. (2019). Relationships in Development: Infancy, Intersubjectivity, and Attachment, by Stephen Seligman, New York: Routledge, 2018, 358 pp., $44.95. Psychoanal. Psychol., 36(2):189-192.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 36(2):189-192

Book Reviews

Relationships in Development: Infancy, Intersubjectivity, and Attachment, by Stephen Seligman, New York: Routledge, 2018, 358 pp., $44.95

Review by:
Jared Russell, Ph.D.

With Relationships in Development: Infancy, Intersubjectivity, and Attachment, Stephen Seligman has given us the gift of what we should call psychoanalytic thinking in the grand style. Rather than focusing on any one particular concept, theorist, or clinical approach, Seligman surveys a staggering amount of analytic and interdisciplinary literature to synthesize a new register for analytic thinking and practice: what he calls, relational-developmental psychoanalysis. The author provides not merely an amalgam of current perspectives in relational psychoanalysis and developmental psychology but also a broad overview of the Anglo-American field and how the rejection of a biologistic reading of Freud, coupled with an openness to developmental and attachment theory previously shunned by the clinical mainstream, and culminates in a new and empirically grounded understanding of the relationship between mind and environment. Beneath its rigorously academic surface, the book is as much an effort to outline a scientific theory of relational, developmental processes as it is a story about the development of psychoanalysis itself and why the discipline considered as a form of natural science inherently tends toward shedding the reductive illusions of its past and embracing the complexity of its true object. Dialectical in its approach, Relationships in Development proceeds by synthesizing the insights of a socially conscious intersubjective orientation with the laboratory-tested observations of infancy and attachment research to arrive at a position that is genuinely breathtaking in the scope and depth of its scholarship.

[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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