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Pray, M. (2000). BUilding Bridges: the Negotiation of Paradox in Psychoanalysis: Stuart A. Pizer, Ph.D. Hillsdale, NJ/London: Analytic Press, 1998. 220 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 69(1):157-162.

(2000). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 69(1):157-162

BUilding Bridges: the Negotiation of Paradox in Psychoanalysis: Stuart A. Pizer, Ph.D. Hillsdale, NJ/London: Analytic Press, 1998. 220 pp.

Review by:
Monroe Pray, M.D.

A growing hope is that psychoanalysis can find a way to accept the corelevance of social/adaptive theory and drive/conflict theory. For those of us thoroughly entrenched in classical intrapsychic-conflict thinking, I highly recommend Building Bridges, by Stuart A. Pizer, as a Baedeker in the foreign land of intersubjectivity and relational therapy. Lucid and forthright, rich with detailed clinical illustrations of his theoretical perspectives, loaded with interesting useful metaphors and often movingly poetic, Pizer's book (in just over 200 pages) explicates his own views and those of theorists I have read but never understood or appreciated in the many ways Pizer makes that possible. Ralph Engle's encouraging comment to him is quoted in the acknowledgments: “The wheel needs to be reinvented again and again.” Pizer does that exceedingly well. We see Winnicott's and Loewald's ideas particularly, along with Modell's and Ogden's, informing his understanding of the psychoanalytic process. But there are others unfamiliar (to me), also outstanding analytic thinkers—for example, Slavin and Kriegman—whose ideas about the mind's natural two-sidedness are mined, debated, and quoted liberally. Their referenced writings are my current essential reading.

Pizer's own special emphasis is on the central role that paradoxical thinking and negotiation theory can play in psychoanalytic technique. His Winnicottian perspective on paradox includes the intrapsychic complementary pairings of ruthlessness and concern, isolation and independence, privacy and interconnectedness.

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