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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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Schwaber, E.A. (2005). A SPIRIT OF INQUIRY: COMMUNICATION IN PSYCHOANALYSIS. By Joseph D. Lichtenberg, M.D.; Frank M. Lachmann, Ph.D.; and James L. Fosshage, Ph.D. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press, 2002. 210 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 74(3):870-874.

(2005). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 74(3):870-874

A SPIRIT OF INQUIRY: COMMUNICATION IN PSYCHOANALYSIS. By Joseph D. Lichtenberg, M.D.; Frank M. Lachmann, Ph.D.; and James L. Fosshage, Ph.D. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press, 2002. 210 pp.

Review by:
Evelyne Albrecht Schwaber

A Spirit of Inquiry is the third book written collaboratively by these three highly prolific authors, who have made significant contributions, singly and together, integrating and expanding our clinical as well as theoretical understanding of relational, self psychological, developmental, and systems approaches. The breadth and scope of this integration, drawing upon their further elaboration of a novel motivational theory that proposes five innate motivational systems, utilizing data of infant research and neuroscience while offering detailed clinical illustrations, are auspicious. Though a relatively slim book, it is by no means a quick read. It requires a fair amount of careful study, which would be aided by a knowledge of their other works, to absorb and grapple with the wealth of information and extensive formulations offered.

Introducing their central thesis, the authors underscore their notion of the salience of a spirit of inquiry deriving from the early, infantile “exploratory motivational system” in turn, this is to serve as “a guiding attitude, a world view that unites analysts across a spectrum of theories” (p. 2). They state further:

We propose that all communications in analysis, whether about physiological regulation, attachment, exploration, sexuality, or aversiveness, require an underlying persistent spirit of inquiry to give the therapeutic enterprise its guiding purpose. … A spirit of inquiry establishes an ambiance that persists when direct exploratory efforts are prevented by enactments and overwhelming affect states. A spirit of inquiry provides vitality to the psychoanalytic search for subjective and intersubjective awareness. [p.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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