Creative Readings: Essays on Seminal Analytic Works: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Creative Readings: Essays on Seminal Analytic Works

1st Edition

By Thomas H Ogden


216 pages

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Thomas H. Ogden is the winner of the 2004 International Journal of Psychoanalysis Award for the Most Important Paper of the year and the 2010 Haskell Norman Prize – an international award for "outstanding achievement as a psychoanalytic clinician, teacher and theoretician".

Thomas Ogden is internationally recognized as one of the most creative analytic thinkers writing today. In this book he brings his original analytic ideas to life by means of his own method of closely reading major analytic works. He reads watershed papers in a way that does not simply cast new and discerning light on the works he is discussing, but introduces his own thinking regarding the ideas being discussed in the texts.

Ogden offers expanded understandings of some of the most fundamental concepts constituting psychoanalytic theory and practice. He does so by finding in each of the articles he discusses much that the author knew, but did not know that he or she knew. An example of this is how Freud, in his conception of the unconscious workings of mourning and melancholia, was providing the foundation of a theory of unconscious internal object relations. Ogden goes on to provide further re-readings of classic material from the following key contributors to contemporary psychoanalysis:

  • W. R. D. Fairbairn
  • Donald Winnicott
  • Wilfred Bion
  • Hans Loewald
  • Harold Searles.  

This book is not simply a book of readings, it is a book about reading, about how to read in a way that readers actively rewrite what they are reading, and in so doing makes the ideas truly their own. The concepts that Ogden develops in his readings provide a significant step in the reader’s expansion of his or her understanding of many of the ideas that lie at the cutting edge of contemporary psychoanalysis. It will be of particular interest to psychoanalysts and psychotherapists who use a psychodynamic approach, as well as professionals and academics with an interest in contemporary psychoanalysis.


"Ogden succeeds beautifully in finding in texts by Sigmund Freud, Susan Isaacs, W. R. D. Fairbairn, Donald Winnicott, Wilfred Bion, Hans Loewald, and Harold Searles more than what was there before he read them. He shows us how in the process of reading their words and sentences creatively, we, readers, not only discover new meanings to these words and sentences, but, most importantly, we are changed in the process of discovering them." - Mufid James Hannush, Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 43, 2012

"[Ogden] invites us to pay particular attention to something obvious and that perhaps we all do, consciously or preconsciously when we read any author: that is, to attend carefully to our own reading of the text and the relationship we establish with the work and the ideas it elicits in us as active readers. In this sense, this book is not only interesting, stimulation and enriching for the papers that Ogden has commented on, but also for the invitation he makes to all of us to pay attention to what we do when we read. I do recommend it highly." - Carlos Fishman, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, September 2013

Ogden's latest book, Creative Readings: Essay on Seminal Analytic Works, leads the reader straight to experience one of the main features of the psychoanalytic process, which in this case is applied to written text. Ogden achieved remarkable prominence in the art of analytic writing and supervising, to which he applied his fresh and lively style that allows new understandings to be discovered. His work is never stilted and is usually captivating and evocative. Through the deep affective resonance of the text, new meanings are brought forward and fresh understandings can take place within the reader's inner world. - Moscato & Solano, Psychoanalytic Psychology, Vol. 30 No. 3 2013

"Over the past three decades, Thomas Ogden has been a prolific contributor to the psychoanalytic literature, setting forth in detail and with substantial erudition his particular object-relational conception of analytic theory and practice. The present volume extends that project in a frankly didactic direction as he offers the reader the product of his close readings of the work of important historical figures, from Freud through Bion to Searles, centering his attention on such matters as the Oedipus complex, the role of fantasy in mental function, and the niceties of transference-countertransference interaction." The Psychoanalytic Quarterly.

“He offers the reader the product of his close readings of the work of important historical figures, from Freud through Bion to Searles, centering his attention on such matters as the Oedipus complex, the role of fantasy in mental function, and the niceties of transference-countertransference interaction” -Ellen Handler Spitz, PhD, Writer, Lecturer, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Table of Contents

Some Thoughts on How to Read this Book. Freud's "Mourning and Melancholia" and The Origins of Object-Relations Theory. Reading Susan Isaacs: Toward a Radically Revised Theory of Thinking. Why Read Fairbairn? Winnicott's "Primitive Emotional Development". Reading Bion. Elements of Analytic Style: Bion's Clinical Seminars. Reading Loewald: Oedipus Reconceived. Harold Searles's "Oedipal Love in the Countertransference" and "Unconscious Identification".

About the Author

Thomas H. Ogden is a Supervising and Personal Analyst at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California. He has published eight books, including Rediscovering Psychoanalysis: Thinking and Dreaming, Learning and Forgetting and This Art of Psychoanalysis: Dreaming Undreamt Dreams and Interrupted Cries. His work has been translated into 18 languages.

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
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health