Dare to Be Human : A Contemporary Psychoanalytic Journey book cover
1st Edition

Dare to Be Human
A Contemporary Psychoanalytic Journey

ISBN 9780415997980
Published February 10, 2009 by Routledge
246 Pages

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Book Description

Daniel is 35, successful, a high level professional and an accomplished academic - yet he is also a virgin, who fears that he will spend the rest of his life alone. More importantly, Daniel has existed in an emotional bubble all of his life, and has had no intimate friendships. In other words, he is not fully alive, and seeks psychotherapy because he is haunted by not understanding what is wrong with him. He is attractive to women, yet as soon as a woman tries to get close to him, he runs away. Lacking an inner foundation, he fears that women will annihilate him, like his overbearing mother who abused him as a child.

Quite simply, this book is an unprecedented achievement, taking the reader into actual psychoanalytic sessions and sharing with the reader Michael Shoshani Rosenbaum’s dialogues with Daniel, vividly illustrating his pain and struggle to transcend his existential plight.  Furthermore, as the author of two sections of the book, Daniel himself provides a rare, insightful view from the other side of the couch, illuminating the challenge and change experienced within the other half of the therapeutic relationship.

It is a compelling psychological adventure, fusing together the intimacy of the therapy with an account of the revolutionary changes that have occurred in the practice of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis over the last decades.  Daniel is like no one else, and yet he is everyone, making this book a must for every person searching for self-knowledge, allowing the reader to identify with Daniel and his struggle to become human.

Table of Contents

Introduction. Daniel's Subterranean Bunker. From Liquid to Solid. From "Togetherness of One" to "Togetherness of Two." Overcoming Perceived Betrayals: Escape from the Symbiotic Prison. From Immortal to Mortal. Ending and Separation. Epilogue, Part I and II. Theoretical Discussion: Thoughts on Insides and Outsides

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Michael Shoshani Rosenbaum, Ph.D., is Clinical Lecturer and Supervisor at Bar-Ilan University School of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. He is the founding Chair and a faculty member of The Tel Aviv Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis, a Faculty Member and Supervisor at the New York University Postdoctoral Program for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, and a Supervisor for Doctoral Students of Clinical Psychology at the City University of New York and Rutgers State University of New Jersey. He practices psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in Tel Aviv.


"Dr. Shoshani’s moving back and forth between descriptions of Daniel and his own emotional process in trying to understand and help Daniel, made it quite a page-turner for me. Shoshani’s choice to present so much raw material was clearly the right one. It's still unusual in psychoanalytic writing for an analyst to recount his own comments verbatim, not just the patient's, including comments he regretted afterward, and it is very rare to find two chapters written by the patient himself. It's an extraordinary piece of work - the treatment itself, not just the paper - a beautiful example of how a patient, who is extremely 'difficult' by many criteria, can become deeply responsive to the help that an analyst offers." - Nancy McWilliams, Rutgers University, and President, APA Division 39 (Psychoanalysis), USA

"I found this book to be a remarkable manuscript.  There is a poetic beauty about Dr. Shoshani’s account of the encounter with Daniel and the deep feelings that this analytic voyage inspired in both the analyst, the analysand, and through this book, in the reader. We have a profound insight into Daniel’s character structure as well as an indication of the complex transference-countertransference dramas that Shoshani and his patient were both destined to experience." - Joyce McDougall, D. Ed., Faculty, Object Relations Institute, New York, USA

"I have found Dare to Be Human to be a remarkable achievement, both as a treatment as well as an account of that treatment. It would be a valuable text for teaching post-graduate students and candidates at psychoanalytic institutes. The content of the hours captures the richness, complexity and subtlety of a skilled psychoanalytic treatment. I am in complete agreement with the main outlines of the author's interpretations. This is a unique account of a psychoanalysis from the perspective of  both participants." - Arnold Modell, Training Analyst, Harvard University, USA

"Dare to be Human is an original and valuable contribution to psychoanalysis, both in form and content. In terms of form, it is rare that a psychoanalytic book provides not only detailed, thoughtful discussion of clinical material, but also two sections of the book that are written by the patient whose analysis is being discussed. What brings the clinical account to life is the creation in the writing of the experience of two people communicating, in large part, by together developing metaphors and stories that capture essences of the patient’s experience. The theoretical content is no less original in that the author develops his own conception of the way psychoanalysis works as a medium for psychological growth." - Thoman Ogden, training analyst, Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California, USA

"I found the book to be moving and skillful, well-written and thought out, or in a nutshell an excellent analysis and an extremely useful clinical analysis that illuminates many contemporary relational concepts and practices." - Jessica Benjamin, Supervising and Training Analyst, NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, USA

"An exceptionally honest, highly intelligent and perceptive study of some very good therapy. In many ways, Dr. Shoshani and I work in a very similar way." - Irv Yalom, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Stanford University, USA

"What shines through above all else is Dr. Shoshani’s love and respect for the patient and his dedication to the highest ideals of what it means to be a psychoanalyst. I am very much in accord with the spirit of this work. Dr. Shoshani has done Daniel an immense service and has been served by him in return and that, after all, is why we continue to practice this convoluted, tortuous and impossible profession." - Sheldon Bach, Training and Supervising Analyst, Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, USA

"With this book, Dr. Shoshani is offering the psychoanalytic community a rare gift: the description of a completed analysis by an astute clinician. The book also contains two chapters written by an insightful analysand: the first written one month after termination, and the second a few years later. This book, both a clinical gem and a moving account, offers the reader a close look at the nature of this relationship, which not only healed Daniel’s lifelong emotional isolation and loneliness, but also had a profound impact on Dr. Shoshani’s emotional life. With its open and honest reporting of his self-reflections and his technical 'missteps,' the reader can feel the analyst’s pain as he re-experiences his own childhood trauma triggered by the patient’s traumatic childhood memories. This is a beautiful example of the intersubjective nature of a good analysis. Dr. Shoshani weaves together concepts of self psychology and relational psychoanalysis, in a unique and creative manner. I highly recommend the book for psychoanalysts as well as beginners and experienced mental health practitioners." - Anna Ornstein, Professor Emerita of Child Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati, USA

"With Dare to Be Human, Michael Shoshani Rosenbaum presents an astonishingly open and accessible account of a psychoanalytic treatment. The book's strength lies in its invitation to struggle along with patient and analyst in their work. Rosenbaum's boldness in confronting contemporary theoretical and technical dilemmas, along with his capacity to contain his uncertainty, will resonate with many of his readers' struggles as they work in the current pluralistic atmosphere of contemporary psychoanalysis and with patients once though to be unanalyzable. At its core, Dare to Be Human makes a major contribution in its vivd account of a therapeutic encounter with a very damaged human being and what occurred that led to profound change." - Richard G. Honig, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 

"To review a book overflowing with originality, conviction, honesty, and creativity like this book is considerably more difficult than I first anticipated...The combination of reporting a fascinating analysis with an echo of [Rosenbaum's] own development and conflicts in parallel is unique....[Rosenbaum's] writing style evokes in the reader a sense of curiosity, interest, and anticipation that makes it difficult to put the book down, as the suspense is always in crescendo....Dare to Be Human I don't doubt will resonate with any analyst who will read this unique piece of analytic literature which will be instructive to beginners as well as seasoned analysts." - Jorge de la Torre, M.D., in the Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic