1st Edition

Coming to Life in the Consulting Room Toward a New Analytic Sensibility

By Thomas H. Ogden Copyright 2022
    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    Ogden sets out a movement in contemporary psychoanalysis toward a new sensibility, reflecting a shift in emphasis from what he calls "epistemological psychoanalysis" (having to do with knowing and understanding) to "ontological psychoanalysis" (having to do with being and becoming).

    Ogden clinically illustrates his way of dreaming the analytic session and of inventing psychoanalysis with each patient. Using the works of Winnicott and Bion, he finds a turn in the analytic conception of mind from conceiving of it as a thing—a "mental apparatus"—to viewing mind as a living process located in the very act of experiencing. Ogden closes the volume with discussions of being and becoming that occur in reading the poetry of Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson, and in the practice of analytic writing.

    This book will be of great interest not only to psychoanalysts and psychotherapists interested in the shift in analytic theory and practice Ogden describes, but also to those interested in ideas concerning the way the mind and human experiencing are created.



    Introduction: Notes on Being and Becoming

    Chapter 1: Ontological Psychoanalysis or "What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?"

    Chapter 2: The Feeling of Real: On Winnicott’s "Communicating and Not Communicating Leading to a Study of Certain Opposites"

    Chapter 3: How I Talk with My Patients

    Chapter 4: Destruction Reconceived: On Winnicott’s "The Use of an Object and Relating Through Identifications"

    Chapter 5: Dreaming the Analytic Session: A Clinical Essay

    Chapter 6: Toward a Revised Form of Analytic Thinking and Practice: The Evolution of Analytic Theory of Mind

    Chapter 7: On Language and Truth in Psychoanalysis

    Chapter 8: Experiencing the Poetry of Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson

    Chapter 9: Analytic Writing as a Form of Fiction


    Thomas H. Ogden, MD, is the author of 12 books of essays on the theory and practice of psychoanalysis, most recently Reclaiming Unlived Life; Creative Readings: Essays on Seminal Analytic Works; and Rediscovering Psychoanalysis. He was awarded the 2012 Sigourney Award for his contribution to psychoanalysis.

    'Thomas Ogden, whose inspiring and prolific work deepens and widens the very heart of psychoanalysis, makes a new and refreshingly clear proposal in his new book. The distinction between an epistemological psychoanalysis and an ontological psychoanalysis has been evolving and crystallizing since Winnicott’s paradigm-changing writings. This superb collection of essays, with moving and vivid clinical vignettes alongside an evocative, scholarly appreciation of the founding psychoanalytic authors Freud and Klein, exemplifies the meaning of an ontological psychoanalytic practice par excellence. The analyst whose focus lies in the evolution of the Self, for both analyst and analysand, will not only love this book but also feel immensely grateful to Ogden for offering, once again, his breath-taking insights and generative reflections on living and being in the analysing situation and beyond.'
    Jan Abram, author of The Surviving Object: Psychoanalytic clinical essays on psychic survival-of-the-object

    'In his latest thought-provoking book, Thomas Ogden explores our ways of being, expressing ourselves, and finding vitalization in life. His writing is fluid and subtle, capable of capturing and shaping the most genuine human experience of living and feeling, that is, of coming into existence. His book is not only that of a psychoanalyst at the height of his creativity, but also of one of the great humanist intellectuals at work today.'
    Elias M. da Rocha Barros, supervising and training analyst, Brazilian Psychoanalytic Society, Sao Paulo, and Fellow of the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London

    'In this stunning extension of his prior contributions, Ogden opens fresh insight into central questions of life —what it means to be a person in a world of others. My experience while reading felt like that when I first read Freud: I felt myself with a Virgil who explained, as we visited confusing experiences I had had from across my life, clinical and personal. I found this work so useful and such a pleasure to read that I read it twice, not only to milk the learning, but also for the sheer pleasure I find when I hear the voice of so gifted a writer.'
    Warren S. Poland, author of Intimacy and Separateness in Psychoanalysis

    'This book would serve as a good introduction to Ogden’s work for those readers not familiar with his writing, but I think there is plenty in this book for those who already know Ogden’s work.[...]The great value and pleasure of the book is in the many clinical vignettes through which Ogden illustrates
    and elaborates his ideas. '
    Lawrence Spurling, Psychodynamic Practice

    'Coming to Life in the Consulting Room is an important book. Reading it increases one's understanding of psychoanalysis–not just one's knowledge, but one's understanding of it. A principal theme is the difference between what Ogden calls "epistemological" and "ontological" psychoanalysis, the latter being the "new analytic sensibility" that the title refers to. This seems to me a significant conceptual advance.' 

    Michael Parsons is a distinguished fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society and member of the French Psychoanalytic Association. To read this review in full, please see the following: Parsons, M. (2023) Coming to Life in the Consulting Room: Toward a New Analytic Sensibility, Thomas H. Ogden, London and New York, Routledge, 2022, 175pp., £29.99, ISBN: 978-1-032-13264-8. International Journal of Psychoanalysis 104:413-423