Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy have, in one way or another, focused on the amelioration of the negative. This has only done half the job; the other half being to actively bring Positive Experience into patients’ lives. Positive Psychoanalysis moves away from this traditional focus on negative experience and problems, and instead looks at what makes for a positive life experience, bringing a new clinical piece to what psychoanalysts do: Positive Psychoanalysis and the interdisciplinary theory and research behind it.
The envelope of functions entailed in Positive Psychoanalysis is an area of Being described as Subjective Well-Being. This book identifies three particular areas of function encompassed by SWB: Personal Meaning, Aesthetics, and Desire. Mark Leffert looks at the importance of these factors in our positive experiences in everyday life, and how they are manifested in clinical psychoanalytic work. These domains of Being form the basis of chapters, each comprising an interdisciplinary discussion integrating many strands of research and argument. Leffert discusses how the areas interact with each other and how they come to bear on the care, healing, and cure that are the usual subjects of psychoanalytic treatment. He also explores how they can be represented in contemporary psychoanalytic theory.
This novel work discusses and integrates research findings, phenomenology, and psychoanalytic thought that have not yet been considered together. It seeks to inform readers about these subjects and demonstrates, with clinical examples, how to incorporate them into their clinical work with the negative, helping patients not just to heal the negative but also move into essential positive aspects of living: a sense of personal meaning, aesthetic competence, and becoming a desiring being that experiences Subjective Well-Being.
Drawing on ideas from across neuroscience, philosophy, and social and culture studies, this book sets out a new agenda for covering the positive in psychoanalysis. Positive Psychoanalysis will appeal to psychoanalysts and psychotherapists, neuroscientists and philosophers, as well as academics across these fields and in psychiatry, comparative literature, and literature and the mind.
Table of Contents
1 The Phenomenological Self, Its Environs, and Its Therapist
2 In Pursuit of Personal Meaning
3 The Capacity for Aesthetic Experience: The Subjectivity of Beauty
4 Aesthetics and Psychoanalysis
6 Subjective Well-Being
7 Positive Psychoanalysis: Putting it all Together
Mark Leffert, MD, has been on the faculty of five psychoanalytic institutes and a Training and Supervising Analyst at four of them. He has taught, and supervised psychoanalysts, psychologists, and psychiatrists for 40 years. He is the author of many papers and three previous Routledge books: Contemporary Psychoanalytic Foundations, The Therapeutic Situation in the 21st Century, and Phenomenology, Uncertainty, and Care in the Therapeutic Encounter. He has been engaged in an interdisciplinary reformulation of clinical psychoanalysis drawing on phenomenology, neuroscience, network studies, and (among others), heuristics and biases. Present and future work focuses on phenomenology, care, healing, and the self. He is in private practice in Santa Barbara, California.