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Robnins, A. (2017). Enlivening the Self: The First Year, Clinical Enrichment, and The Wandering Mind, by Joseph D. Lichtenberg, Frank M. Lachmann, and James L. Fosshage, Routledge, New York, 2016, 172 pp.. Psychodyn. Psych., 45(1):121-123.

(2017). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 45(1):121-123

Enlivening the Self: The First Year, Clinical Enrichment, and The Wandering Mind, by Joseph D. Lichtenberg, Frank M. Lachmann, and James L. Fosshage, Routledge, New York, 2016, 172 pp.

Review by:
Arnold Robnins, M.D.

This work is one of a continuum of works called The Psychoanalytic Inquiry Book Series and was preceded by over 50 monographs. The editor of the series is one of the authors of this monograph, Joseph Lichtenberg. All three of the authors have published extensively and often together, in the psychotherapy/psychoanalysis arena. They are familiar with each others' work undoubtedly. I have had some familiarity with them through their publications and their presentations. The work is composed of three separate essays, which are related one to the other. The approach here is very broad based and seems to be part of a growing and vibrant self psychological and relational approach to understanding our patients and clients, and their problems. The authors repeatedly identify themselves as coming from a psychoanalytic point of inquiry, but to put it colloquially, this is not your grandfather's, or even father's, psychoanalysis. In this sense, monographs of this type are revolutionary. While the basic concepts of “classical” psychoanalysis are not obviated, they are not emphasized. Conflict Theory, “The Unconscious,” Drive Theory, The Blank Screen Therapist are not at the heart of these essays. Nor do these works seem to me to be fully a continuum of these classical ideas, but quite a departure from them, a departure that is dramatic, and thus in a sense revolutionary.

It is not as if self psychology and relational theories are new. They have a deep and abiding history starting very early in psychoanalytic history and not long after Freud's conceptualization of the nature of mind.

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