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Having a PEP-Web subscription grants you access to IJP Open. This new feature allows you to access and review some articles of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis before their publication. The free subscription to IJP Open is required, and you can access it by clicking here.

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Kuriloff, E. (2019). To the Dream: Review of Dramatic Dialogue: Contemporary Clinical Practice by Galit Atlas and Lewis Aron: Dramatic Dialog: Contemporary Clinical Practice, edited by Atlas, Galit and Aron, Lewis (2017), Routledge, London, 194 pages. Psychoanal. Perspect., 16(3):365-368.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 16(3):365-368

Book Review

To the Dream: Review of Dramatic Dialogue: Contemporary Clinical Practice by Galit Atlas and Lewis Aron: Dramatic Dialog: Contemporary Clinical Practice, edited by Atlas, Galit and Aron, Lewis (2017), Routledge, London, 194 pages

Emily Kuriloff, PsyD

History, despite its wrenching pain,

Cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage,

Need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon

The day breaking for you.

Give birth again

To the dream.

–Maya Angelou (2015)

Galit Atlas and Lewis Aron’s recent volume, Dramatic Dialogue (2018) is that which it seeks to illuminate. Reviving a psychoanalytic tradition created by the formally maligned Sandor Ferenzci, the book illustrates and elaborates Ferenzci’s insistence on a willing suspension of time and space, so that the past unfolds in a present made anew. Thus the stage is set for empathic dialog that informs the future. Intentionally evoking the theatrical term, “Dramatic Dialogue,” Ferenczi hopes to conjure a situation separate from everyday life that is saturated with action and meaning. In this drama, however, there is no script, but a form of improvisation that Philip Bromberg (2000) would call the “sweaty mess” (p. 27) of analytic engagement. Indeed, Atlas and Aron challenge any notion of clinical procedure or linearity—the before/after, inside/outside—both in the book’s content and its structure. Their writing itself breaks the “fourth wall,” so that the barrier separating the authors and the reader dissolves.

[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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