On the Dark Side of Chronic Depression : Psychoanalytic, Social-cultural and Research Approaches book cover
1st Edition

On the Dark Side of Chronic Depression
Psychoanalytic, Social-cultural and Research Approaches

ISBN 9781032245676
Published September 30, 2022 by Routledge
194 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book brings together cutting-edge expertise from psychoanalysis, psychiatry, neuroscience and social science to shed light on the dark side of chronic depression.

Considering different forms of depression on a continuum, the book develops new diagnostical considerations on depression. It includes detailed case studies from clinical psychoanalytical practice, conceptual considerations and historical analyses to current empirical and neurobiological studies on depression. The book is unique in bridging a gap between Anglo-Saxon/German psychoanalysis and French traditions in relation to clinical treatment techniques and conceptualizations of depression and trauma. Chapters present new research on the social, biographical, genetic and neurobiological determinants of severe depressive disorder and explore how these can be differentiated and expanded in the face of new cultural realities as well of new findings particularly in modern neurosciences.

The book explores new understanding and discussion of treatment options for depression and will be essential reading for researchers and students in the field of depression and mental health research. It will also enrich the conceptual and clinical knowledge of psychoanalysts and psychotherapy researchers and students.

Table of Contents


          Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber, Gilles Ambresin, Tamara Fischmann, Mark Solms

          Part 1: Introduction

  1. On the Dark Side.
  2. Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber

  3. From Acedia to Melacholy: Sadness in the Presence of God
  4. Jean-Nicolas Despland

    Part 2: Clinical and conceptual psychoanalytical approaches to depression and trauma

  5. The unpast core of depression 
  6. Dominique Scarfone


  7. The invisible depression
  8. Nicolas de Coulon

  9. The denied object of melancholia
  10. JC Rolland

  11. The psychoanalysis of a chronically and severely depressed patient
  12. Bernard Reith,

  13. "Switching the light off to cast the shadow away"
  14. Jean-François Simoneau

  15. Getting out of the shadow of the object
  16. Anne Brun

  17. Together in the magma of despair
  18. Valérie Bouville

  19. The presence of God in a melancholic patient
  20. Gérard Winterhalter


  21. Some aspects of early development and depression: The case of Thea, an adolescent
  22. Silke Kratel Cañellas

  23. Early Depressions: Loss of liveliness, withdrawal, psychosomatic issues and risk of developmental delay
  24. Christine Anzieu-Premmereur


    Part 3: Empirical and interdisciplinary research on depression and trauma

  25. Outcome Studies on longterm psychoanalytical psychotherapies on chronic depression: The MODE Study
  26. Gilles Ambresin, Tamara Fischmann, Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber

  27. Memory re-consolidation and dreaming: shadows of the night
  28. Tamara Fischmann, Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber, Gilles Ambresin

  29. Depression in Neuropsychoanalysis: Why does depression feels bad?
  30. Mark Solms,

  31. Thoughts on the failure of intersubjective development following maternal-child trauma and loss
  32. Daniel S. Schechter

  33. Containing darkness:

            Siri Gullestad

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Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber is Professor Emeritus for psychoanalysis at the University of Kassel, past director in charge of the Sigmund-Freud-Institut in Frankfurt and now researcher at the Universitymedicine in Mainz, Germany.

Gilles Ambresin is Research Lead in the research program on chronic depression at the University Institute of Psychotherapy, Lausanne University Hospital, Switzerland.

Tamara Fischmann is Professor of clinical psychology and psychoanalysis at the International Psychoanalytic University (IPU) Berlin, Germany and researcher at the Sigmund-Freud-Institut (SFI) Frankfurt a.M.

Mark Solms is Chair of Neuropsychology at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, South Africa.


"This is a long-awaited book integrating psychoanalytic insights into chronic severe depression with progress that has been made in psychoanalytic and sociocultural research. It is an excellent and unique contribution which all clinicians will benefit from." 

Peter Fonagy, Head of the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at UCL; Chief Executive of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, London; Consultant to the Child and Family Programme at the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine; and holds visiting professorships at Yale and Harvard Medical Schools. 


"As the prevalence of depression grows, the need for better treatments is heightened. This volume provides an in-depth exploration of the psychodynamic and socio-cultural mechanisms of depression including new research on the role of early childhood trauma. I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to expand their understanding of depression beyond conventional approaches."

Richard D. Lane, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, The University of Arizona, USA


"Reading this book is an inspiring experience. A fresh approach is presented to the nature of chronic depression using modern interdisciplinary language. The book entails a promise of important new understanding of why the suffering of people with long-term depression has been so difficult to change. Highly recommendable."

Johannes Lehtonen, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, University of Eastern Finland; Adjunct Professor of Clinical Neurophysiology, University of Turku, Finland; Member of The Finnish Psychoanalytical Society


"A book for readers who sense the value of an in-depth integrated understanding of depression: how it is essential if an injured individual is to grow emotionally; and as well for all of us as creatures, each with our natures, histories, nationalities and cultures in the approaching global crisis of our species."

Dr David Taylor, Training & Supervising Analyst of the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London; Clinical Director of the Tavistock Adult Depression Study (TADS); Visiting Professor at UCL; and a trustee of the Melanie Klein Trust


"This book admirably shows why depression needs a psychoanalytic approach that goes beyond the symptoms and addresses the suffering human beings, their bodies and minds, their history and traumas, and their family and social life."

Ricardo Bernardi, Professor Emeritus at the School Medicine, Uruguay; "Honorary Member" ("Miembro de Honor") and Training Analyst of the Uruguayan Psychoanalytical Association (APU) and of the Uruguayan Society of Psychiatry; Full Member of the National Academy of Medicine, Uruguay; IPA Extraordinarily Meritorious Service to Psychoanalysis Award (2021); Mary S. Sigourney Award for Major Contribution to Psychoanalysis (1999); International Journal of Psychoanalysis (IJP) Best Paper Award (2003)


"This volume that originated in the work of the 2020 Joseph Sandler Conference in Lausanne offers readers at all levels of psychoanalytic experience a comprehensive, state-of-the-art exploration of an integrative model of depression seen from varying perspectives. These include empirical, metapsychological, social-scientific, research-based and clinical considerations. In doing so, it addresses core clinical issues of narcissism, trauma, intra-psychic and relational conflict and examines and exemplifies the important role of empirical research in psychoanalysis. The result is a much-valued resource for the understanding of the origins, presentations and treatment of depression in its many manifestations, that range from classical melancholia to essential depression and from neurosis to psychosis."

Howard B. Levine, MD, Editor-in-Chief, The Routledge WR Bion Studies Series