Concerning the Nature of Psychoanalysis: The Persistence of a Paradoxical Discourse, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Concerning the Nature of Psychoanalysis

The Persistence of a Paradoxical Discourse, 1st Edition

By Gregorio Kohon


136 pages

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pub: 2019-06-07
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In his new book, Considering the Nature of Psychoanalysis: The Persistence of a Paradoxical Discourse, Gregorio Kohon describes the complexity of the psychoanalytic encounter, questioning the misguided attempts to simplify and/or reduce it to either art or science.

Kohon disputes the contemporary use of parameters offered by evidence-based medicine as a research model to study psychoanalysis. Instead, the author proposes to reconsider the relevance of the psychoanalytic single case study, its importance and pre-eminence.

The present book will be of great interest to all psychotherapists, councillors, psychiatrists, mental health workers and students and academics of the social sciences.


'"Do psychoanalysts have a story to tell?", asks Gregorio Kohon. Yes, he says, but not one that everybody wants to hear. Kohon presents psychoanalysis as a unique relationship between individuals that in principle can never be understood completely. He criticises attempts to tame psychoanalysis, making it more manageable by distorting its essential singularity. The book’s wide-ranging discussion of these themes is enjoyably clear and direct. Kohon relates psychoanalysis to scientific, social and political ideologies, insisting on its true character in a way that is valuable in itself, and especially needed today.'-Michael Parsons, British Psychoanalytical Society and French Psychoanalytic Association

'Gregorio Kohon’s book is a passionate, evocative and persuasive defence of the particular nature of the psychoanalytic endeavour. Kohon argues that, belonging neither to science nor to art, and yet to both, psychoanalysis is a unique and intimate encounter between two people that confronts the complexities of the human mind and in which fundamental primary phantasies can emerge in symptoms, dreams and the ever-evolving changes in the relationship itself. With this in mind, Kohon argues for the pre-eminence of the clinical case report as the most truly meaningful way in which the psychoanalytic method can be understood and its value assessed.'-Priscilla Roth, Training Analyst and Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society

'This powerful new book by Gregorio Kohon addresses the disquieting question of how we may best study and give credence to that singular endeavour, psychoanalysis. Kohon argues that psychoanalytic clinical practice and ‘evidence based’ research differ fundamentally in aim and approach. At the heart of his book lies the immense and irreducible complexity (‘the unbridled imagination’) of psychoanalysis, exemplified by two psychoanalytic case studies that give a real sense of the paradoxical and conjectural nature of the analytic couple at work. For Kohon, psychoanalysis itself is also the analyst’s prime research tool.'-Helen Taylor Robinson, Child Analyst and Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society

Table of Contents

Preface 1 Psychoanalysis – a literature of excess 2 "Tony": from the analysis of a psychotic young man 3 "Barbara": a symbiotic identification with an omnipotent mother imago 4 Between the fear of madness and the need to be mad 5 The heroic achievement of sanity 6 The question of uncertainty 7 What is to be done?

About the Author

Gregorio Kohon is a Training Analyst of the British Psycho-Analytical Society. Among other books, he edited The Dead Mother: The Work of André Green (1999) and British Psychoanalysis: New Perspectives on the Independent Tradition (2018). He also published Love and its Vicissitudes (co-authored with André Green) (2005), and Reflections on the Aesthetic Experience: Psychoanalysis and the Uncanny (2016).

About the Series

The New Library of Psychoanalysis

The New Library of Psychoanalysis is published by Routledge Mental Health in association with the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London.

Its purpose is to facilitate a greater and more widespread appreciation of psychoanalysis and to provide a forum for increasing mutual understanding between psychoanalysts and those in other disciplines. The series also aims to make some of the work of continental and other non-English speaking analysts more readily available to English-speaking readers, and to increase the interchange of ideas between British and American analysts.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis published its first book in 1987 under the editorship of David Tuckett, later followed by Elizabeth Bott Spillius, Susan Budd and Dana Birksted-Breen. A considerable number of Associate Editors and readers have assisted the editors.

Under the guidance of Foreign Rights Editors, a considerable number of the New Library books have been published abroad, particularly in Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Peru, Spain and Japan.

The aim of the New Library of Psychoanalysis is to maintain the high level of scholarship of the previous series, to provide a forum for increasing understanding between psychoanalysis and other disciplines and to increase the interest of the general book-reading public in psychoanalysis.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis also aims to help the various schools of psychoanalysis to better understand each other. It has published books representing all three schools of thought in British psychoanalysis, including a particularly important work edited by Pearl King and Riccardo Steiner, expounding the intellectual and organisational controversies that developed in the British psychoanalytical Society between Kleinian, Viennese and 'middle group' analysts during the Second World War.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis has also translated and published several books by Continental psychoanalysts, and it plans in the future to continue the policy of publishing books that express as clearly as possible a variety of psychoanalytic points of view.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis