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Tip: To review The Language of Psycho-Analysis…

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Prior to searching a specific psychoanalytic concept, you may first want to review The Language of Psycho-Analysis written by Laplanche & Pontalis. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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Danielian, J. (2015). Cyclical Psychodynamics and the Contextual Self: The Inner World, the Intimate World, and the World of Culture and Society, by Paul L. Wachtel, Routledge, New York, 2014, 243pp.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 75(3):333-335.

(2015). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(3):333-335

Book Reviews

Cyclical Psychodynamics and the Contextual Self: The Inner World, the Intimate World, and the World of Culture and Society, by Paul L. Wachtel, Routledge, New York, 2014, 243pp.

Review by:
Jack Danielian, Ph.D.

Paul Wachtel's most recent book, Cyclical Psychodynamics and the Contextual Self, represents a summation on many levels. Wachtel has been contributing to progressive experience-near thinking in psychoanalysis since the early 70s. This text summarizes virtually his entire corpus of work. Of course it is no mere summation. It integrates many related facets of his thinking from epistemology, clinical psychology, psychoanalysis, relational theory, cyclical dynamics, and the clinical issues of inequality and injustice.

Over many years Wachtel's quiet, personal voice has contributed to a growing shift in our thinking, one that promotes integration over the entire spectrum of psychoanalytic thought. He was the impetus for the organization “Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration,” an organization steadily growing in numbers and influence. He certainly was the first psychoanalyst who saw compatibilities between psychoanalysis and behaviorism and his vision across the many progressive strains in recent psychoanalytic thinking is, as reviewers have called it “seminal” and “breathtaking.” In the current book he continues to summarize and integrate the recent theoretical ferment in our field but now adds inequality and injustice to his psychoanalytic vision. By bringing social, cultural, class, and racial issues to the fore in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, he creates a bold tableau of how we can achieve social and political reform.

[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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