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Katz, S.M. (2017). Relational Freedom: Emergent Properties of the Interpersonal Field by Donnei B. Stern Routledge, London, 2015; 272 pp. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 98(1):253-257.

(2017). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 98(1):253-257

Relational Freedom: Emergent Properties of the Interpersonal Field by Donnei B. Stern Routledge, London, 2015; 272 pp

Review by:
S. Montana Katz, Ph.D., LP

In Relational Freedom: Emergent properties of the interpersonal field Donnei Stern takes the reader on an intimate journey through an interpersonal landscape. This interpersonal expedition occurs simultaneously on many levels. This reader had the experience of being engaged in a collegial and open conversation with Stern while reading the book. Similarly in reading the abundant and rich clinical examples that are distributed throughout the book I had the sense of being inside the consultation room privy to Stern's thoughts and feelings as they unfolded in the sessions being described. This book is thought provoking and reading it feels like an active process of exploration. It is an example of psychoanalytic writing at its best.

In Relational Freedom Stern covers a wide range of subjects. In chapter 1 Stern convincingly argues that interpersonal/relational psychoanalysis is a kind of field theory. He spends the majority of the chapter delving into core concepts of interpersonal theory such as emergence and relational freedom. In chapter 2 Stern discusses the history of the interpersonal tradition starting from the work of Harry Stack Sullivan and Erich Fromm. He describes some of the theoretical, clinical and political critiques of this way of working and offers cogent responses to them. In chapter 3 Stern compares the field and related clinical concepts of Sullivan with those of Madeleine and Willy Baranger. Continuing with field theory comparisons in chapter 4 Stern compares the Bionian field theory of Antonino Ferro with the contemporary interpersonal/relational approach.

[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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