Ghosts in the Consulting Room: Echoes of Trauma in Psychoanalysis (Paperback) book cover

Ghosts in the Consulting Room

Echoes of Trauma in Psychoanalysis

Edited by Adrienne Harris, Margery Kalb, Susan Klebanoff

© 2016 – Routledge

214 pages

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About the Book

Ghosts in the Consulting Room: Echoes of Trauma in Psychoanalysis is the first of two volumes that delves into the overwhelming, often unmetabolizable feelings related to mourning. The book uses clinical examples of people living in a state of liminality or ongoing melancholia. The authors reflect on the challenges of learning to move forward and embrace life over time, while acknowledging, witnessing and working through the emotional scars of the past.

Bringing together a collection of clinical and theoretical papers, Ghosts in the Consulting Room features accounts of the unpredictable effects of trauma that emerge within clinical work, often unexpectedly, in ways that surprise both patient and therapist. In the book, distinguished psychoanalysts examine how to work with a variety of ‘ghosts’, as they manifest in transference and countertransference, in work with children and adults, in institutional settings and even in the very founders and foundations of the field of psychoanalysis itself. They explore the dilemma of how to process loss when it is unspeakable and unknowable, often manifesting in silence or gaps in knowledge, and living in strange relations to time and space.

This book will be of interest to psychotherapists and psychoanalysts, as well as social workers, family therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. It will appeal to those specializing in bereavement and trauma and, on a broader level, to sociologists and historians interested in understanding means of coping with loss and grief on both an individual and larger scale basis. 

Table of Contents

CLINICAL 1. ‘ I aways wished I could stop time.’: An Adolescent Girl, Unresolved mourning and the Haunted Third Susan Klebanoff, 2. Ghostly Intrusions : Unformulated trauma and its transformation in the Therapeutic dyad Heather Ferguson 3. Travel Fever: Transgenerational Trauma and Witnessing in Analyst and Analysand Michael Feldman 4. Shadows, Ghosts and and Chimeraes: On some early modes of handling psycho-genetic heritage Joshua Durban 5. Vaginal Ghosts: Memorializing the disappeared Sue Grand COMMUNITY & CULTURE 6. Ghosts in Psychoanalysis Adrienne Harris, Michael Roth, Jack Drescher, Dan Butler, Don Troise & Douglas Kirsner 7. Empty Arms and Secret Shames: Ghosts in the NICU Zina Steinberg & Susan Kraemer 8. Mourning in the Hollow of Architecture and Psychoanalysis Julie Leavitt & Maria McVarish 9. First Kiss, Last word: Stairway to Heaven Adrienne Harris 10. Afterword Sam Gerson

About the Editors

Adrienne Harris is on the faculty and is a supervisor at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She published Gender as Soft Assembly in 2005. She writes about gender and development, about analytic subjectivity, about ghosts, and about the analysts developing and writing around the period of the First World War.

Margery Kalb is a psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City. She is on the faculty at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She also teaches and supervises clinical work for the doctoral psychology program at Pace University. Dr. Kalb is the author of several papers on ghosts.

Susan Klebanoff is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City. She is on the faculty of the Stephen Mitchell Center and is an adjunct clinical supervisor at the Ferkauf School of Yeshiva University. Klebanoff has previously co-authored a book on depression for middle school aged children and a chapter in a book on uncertainty in psychoanalysis.

About the Series

Relational Perspectives Book Series

The Relational Perspectives Book Series (RPBS) publishes books that grow out of or contribute to the relational tradition in contemporary psychoanalysis. The term relational psychoanalysis was first used by Greenberg and Mitchell (1983) to bridge the traditions of interpersonal relations, as developed within interpersonal psychoanalysis and object relations, as developed within contemporary British theory. But, under the seminal work of the late Stephen Mitchell, the term relational psychoanalysis grew and began to accrue to itself many other influences and developments. Various tributaries—interpersonal psychoanalysis, object relations theory, self psychology, empirical infancy research, and elements of contemporary Freudian and Kleinian thought—flow into this tradition, which understands relational configurations between self and others, both real and fantasied, as the primary subject of psychoanalytic investigation.  

We refer to the relational tradition, rather than to a relational school, to highlight that we are identifying a trend, a tendency within contemporary psychoanalysis, not a more formally organized or coherent school or system of beliefs. Our use of the term relational signifies a dimension of theory and practice that has become salient across the wide spectrum of contemporary psychoanalysis. Now under the editorial supervision of Lewis Aron and Adrienne Harris with the assistance of Associate Editors Steven Kuchuck and Eyal Rozmarin, the Relational Perspectives Book Series originated in 1990 under the editorial eye of the late Stephen A. Mitchell. Mitchell was the most prolific and influential of the originators of the relational tradition. He was committed to dialogue among psychoanalysts and he abhorred the authoritarianism that dictated adherence to a rigid set of beliefs or technical restrictions. He championed open discussion, comparative and integrative approaches, and he promoted new voices across the generations.  

Included in the Relational Perspectives Book Series are authors and works that come from within the relational tradition, extend and develop the tradition, as well as works that critique relational approaches or compare and contrast it with alternative points of view. The series includes our most distinguished senior psychoanalysts along with younger contributors who bring fresh vision.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSY022040
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychopathology / Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PSY026000
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSY028000
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / General