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Stine, J. (2016). Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy Integration: An Evolving Synergy, edited by Jill Bresler and Karen Starr, Rutledge Press, New York, 2015, 309 pp.. Psychodyn. Psych., 44(4):594-597.

(2016). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 44(4):594-597

Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy Integration: An Evolving Synergy, edited by Jill Bresler and Karen Starr, Rutledge Press, New York, 2015, 309 pp.

Review by:
John Stine, M.D.

It is not exactly fast-breaking news that psychiatry has undergone a radical shift away from the domination of the classic “one person” model of psychoanalysis that so powerfully shaped previous attitudes toward theory and clinical practice in the United States. Since then, many different conceptual models of psychotherapeutic treatment have evolved, including Relational Psychoanalysis, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, Neurofeedback, Psychopharmacology, Neuropsychoanalysis, Family Therapy, Social Systems Therapy, and the practice of Mindful Meditation. This development has afforded the eclectic clinician many more treatment options from which to choose in treating patients. At the same time, it brings with it several major problems for both clinicians and theoreticians.

The first problem is on a clinical and pragmatic level, that of differential therapeutics, that is, which treatment methods will be most effective for which patients. Hopefully, ongoing research using head-to-head, controlled studies will help to clarify this issue for the clinician.

The second problem is whether any of the theoretical underpinnings of these various methods will provide us with an overarching, unitary theory of mind, one that would lead to a broadly acceptable metapsychology and provide the basis for effective and universally appropriate treatments for a wide spectrum of emotional difficulties.

The editors of this book are Jill Bresler, a faculty member of the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, and Karen Starr, a clinical supervisor at the CUNY Graduate Center, both trained in the relational tradition of psychoanalysis.

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