Ordinary People and Extra-ordinary Protections: A Post-Kleinian Approach to the Treatment of Primitive Mental States, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Ordinary People and Extra-ordinary Protections

A Post-Kleinian Approach to the Treatment of Primitive Mental States, 1st Edition

By Judith L. Mitrani


200 pages

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Paperback: 9780415241656
pub: 2001-03-01
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pub: 2001-03-01
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Many people come to analysis appearing quite 'ordinary' on the surface. However, once below that surface, we often come into contact with something quite unexpected: 'extra-ordinary protections' created to keep at bay any awareness of deeply traumatic happenings occurring at some point in life.

Judith Mitrani investigates the development and the function of these protections, allowing the reader to witness the evolution of the process of transformation, wherein defensiveness steadily mutates into communication.

She lucidly and artfully weaves detailed clinical with a variety of analytic concepts, and her original notions - including 'unmentalized experience' and its expression in enactments; 'adhesive pseudo-object relations' and the way in which this contracts and compares with normal and narcissistic object relations - provide valuable tools for understanding the infantile transference/countertransference and for the refinement of our technique with primitive mental states.

Ordinary People and Extra-Ordinary Protections will prove stimulating and accessible in its style and substance to a broad analytic readership, from the serious student of psychoanalysis to the most seasoned professional.


'Judith Mitrani's latest work beautifully illuminates some incompletely explored areas of psychoanalytic thinking… Throughout this work we become impressed with the presence of a versatile and innovative observer, thinker, clinician, and integrator with an unusual range of knowledge. Dr Mitrani's is a new, valuable, and most welcome voice in psychoanalysis.' - James S. Grotstein, North American Vice President, International Psychoanalytical Association

'Her clinical approach is to search for the earliest trauma - postulated around containment and intrauterine and skin-to-skin organization of experience - and she will link them to the immediacy of intense clinical (that is, transferential and countertransferential) states with a conceptual language that is commensurate to that suffering. And here Mitrani doesn't flinch; she takes on the "cascading breakdown- in both analyst

and analysand .. in the face of extreme emotional turbulence".' - Alfred Margulies, JAPA vol 50 No 3, 2002

'The overriding quality of this book is its transparency, its lucid quality of discourse about the author's work, and the clear presentation of the clinical process she sets going. This leaves the reader always knowing exactly where he/she is with the author's thinking, and in a position to feel oneself there in the room with the analyst and her patients.' - R.D. Hinshelwood, IJPA 2002

Mitrani offers us an extraordinary view of an intensely gifted clinician, working at the very edge of what can be felt and thought analytically, As such, this book is remarkable - George Pidgeon, from The Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy, (Vol 7, No 3) Autumn 2007

Table of Contents

Grotstein, Foreword. Transference Interpretation and the Emergence of Infantile Dependency in Ordinary People. Extra-Ordinary Protections: The Evolution of the Theory of Adhesive Identification. Ordinary People and Extra-Ordinary Protections. The Flying Dutchman and the Search for the Containing Object. Chloe: From Pre-Conception to After Birth. Unbearable Ecstasy, Reverence and Awe and the Perpetuation of an Aesthetic Conflict. Never Before and Never Again. Changes of Mind: Working Things Through in the Countertransference. Concluding Thoughts.

About the Author

Judith L. Mitrani is a Training and Supervising analyst at both The Psychoanalytic Center of California and the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies. She is author of A Framework for the Imaginery: Clinical Explorations in Primitive States of Being and the co-editor (with Dr. Theodore Mitrani) of the book Encounters with Autisitic States: A Memorial Tribute to Frances Tustin.

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.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Counseling
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / General