Coming to Life in the Consulting Room : Toward a New Analytic Sensibility book cover
1st Edition

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

ISBN 9781032132648
Published December 21, 2021 by Routledge
192 Pages

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents



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

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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