Is there a baby in the relational consulting room? How and when can/should we try to hold our patients? What happens to the analyst's subjectivity when she tries to hold?
In Holding and Psychoanalysis: A Relational Perspective (second Edition), Joyce Slochower brings a contemporary relational framework to bear on Winnicott's notion of the holding environment. Revisiting the clinical impact and theoretical underpinnings of holding, Slochower explores its function in those moments when "ordinary" interpretive or interactive work cannot be tolerated. Slochower expands the holding construct beyond the needs of dependent patients by examining its therapeutic function across the clinical spectrum. Emphasizing holding’s coconstructed nature, Slochower explores the contribution of both patient and analyst the holding moment.
This second Edition introduces new theoretical and clinical material, including four additional chapters. Two of these address holding’s impact on the patient’s capacity to access, articulate and process affect states; the third moves outside the consulting room to explore how holding functions in acts of memorial ritual across the lifespan. A final chapter presents Slochower’s latest ideas about holding’s clinical function in buffering shame states.
Integrating Winnicott's seminal contributions with contemporary relational and feminist/psychoanalytic perspectives, Joyce Slochower addresses the therapeutic limitations of both interpretive and interactive clinical work. There are times, she argues, when patients cannot tolerate explicit evidence of the analyst's separate presence and instead need a holding experience. Slochower conceptualizes holding within a relational frame that includes both deliberate and enacted elements. In her view, the analyst does not hold alone; patient and analyst each participate in the establishment of a co-constructed holding space. Slochower pays particular attention to the analyst's experience during moments of holding, offering rich clinical vignettes that illustrate the complex struggle that holding entails. She also addresses the therapeutic limits of holding and invites the reader to consider the analyst’s contribution to these failures. Slochower locates the holding process within a broader clinical framework that involves the transition toward collaboration—a move away from holding and into an explicitly intersubjective therapeutic frame.
Holding and Psychoanalysis offers a sophisticated integration of Winnicottian and relational thought that privileges the dynamic impact of holding moments on both patient and analyst. Thoroughly grounded in case examples, the book offers compelling clinical solutions to common therapeutic knots. Clearly written and carefully explicated, it will be an important addition to the libraries of psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists.
Table of Contents
A Relational Holding Model. Holding as Metaphor. Holding and Regression to Dependence: The Winnicottian Model. Holding and Self-Involvement. Holding Ruthlessness and Hate. On the Edge: Working Around a Holding Process. Interior Experience in Analytic Process. Holding and the Problem of Absent Desire. When Holding Fails. The Holding Function in Mourning. The Dynamics of Commemorative Ritual. Holding in Context. The Evolution of Psychoanalytic Collaboration. Holding a Long View.
"Though vitally important when it was first published, Holding and psychoanalysis remains an indispensable model of complexity, respect and imagination in psychoanalytic thinking and practice."- Jennifer L. Stevens, The International Journal of Psychoanalysis
"This significantly revised classic book is at the cutting edge of contemporary psychoanalytic theorizing and at the same time offers immense practical, accessible help to beginning analysts. Beautifully written, with vivid case examples that include the clinician’s ongoing internal reflections, this edition of Holding and Psychoanalysis should be on the shelf of everyone who seeks to engage therapeutically with the most damaged, demoralized, resentful, and fragile among us." - Nancy McWilliams, PhD, ABPP, Rutgers Graduate School of Applied & Professional Psychology
"If you didn’t read the first edition of Slochower’s Holding and Psychoanalysis: A Relational Perspective, you missed a classic. Jump on the opportunity offered by this beautifully written new edition and fill that gap. And if you already know the book, you’ll want to read the second edition, because Slochower adds four new chapters, new emphasis on the co-constructed aspects of holding, and many gripping new clinical illustrations. Holding and Psychoanalysis is not just an important psychoanalytic text, it’s a terrific read." - Donnel Stern, PhD