Affect in Psychoanalysis : A Clinical Synthesis book cover
1st Edition

Affect in Psychoanalysis
A Clinical Synthesis

ISBN 9780881633986
Published February 1, 2003 by Routledge
264 Pages

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Book Description

Drawing on the writings of Freud, Fairbairn, Klein, Sullivan, and Winnicott, Spezzano offers a radical redefinition of the analytic process as the intersubjective elaboration and regulation of affect. The plight of analytic patients, he holds, is imprisonment within crude fantasy elaborations of developmentally significant feeling states. Analytic treatment fosters the patient's capacity to keep alive in consciousness, and hence reflect on, these previously warded-off affective states; it thereby provides a second chance to achieve competence in using feeling states to understand the self within its relational landscape.

Table of Contents

I. Knowing and Talking About Affect
- The Place of Psychoanalysis in the Conversation About Human Affective Life
- How Psychoanalysts Talk About Affects Now
II. The Evolution of Psychoanalytic Thinking About Affects
- Freud's Alleged Missing Theory of Affects Revisited
- Affect and Its Regulation in Post-Freudian Theory
III. The Dialectics of Affect
- Patients and Their Discontents: Who or What Is Responsible? 
- Excitement, Certainty, Relational Coordination, and Competence

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Charles Spezzano, Ph.D., is a member of the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California, the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies, and the International Psychoanalytic Association.  He is a contributing editor to Psychoanalytic Dialogues and is on the editorial board of JAPA.  He is coeditor, with Gerald J. Gargiulo, of Soul on the Couch: Spirituality, Religion, and Morality in Contemporary Psychoanalysis (Analytic Press, 1997).


"Affect in Psychoanalysis is an exciting book that draws on all psychoanalytic traditions in a remarkably unbiased and wonderfully balanced way.  Spezzano remains fair to all these traditions while extracting what is valuable from each to construct a model of psychoanalytic theory and practice in which affects have the central role they deserve."

- Lewis Aron, Ph.D., Director, NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis

"Unafraid to question authority and challenge received wisdom, Dr. Spezzano adds a significant new vooice to the ongoing psychoanalytic dialogue on affects.  With erudition and synthetic skill, he explores affect theory from multiple perspectives without losing sight of the relational context.  He writes about these complex matters clearly and simply; his book, in addition to being highly informative, is a pleasure to read."

James W. Barron, Ph.D., author, Humor and Psyche (Analytic Press, 1999)

"This is a much-needed book on a crucial yet neglected topic.  Spezzano tackles some of the thorniest conceptual issues in psychoanalysis, always staying in touch with the vital core of clinical work.  His approach is original and stimulating - it will help us take a fresh look at the way we think about our patients.  I recommend the book to therapists of all orientations and to other interested in studying the human condition."

- Jay Greenberg, Ph.D., Training and Supervising Analyst, Willian Alanson White Institute