One of the foundational texts of interpersonal psychoanalysis, Prelogical Experience (1959) is a pioneering attempt to elaborate an interpersonal theory of personality that encompasses the nonpropositional, nonverbal dimension of human experience. Prelogical processes, the authors hold, cannot be consigned to infancy; rather they shape experience throughout life and are especially salient in relation to dreams, emotion, perception, and the arts.
Of special note is Tauber and Green's elaboration of the clinical situation that grows out of an appreciation of prelogical experience. In a striking anticipation of contemporary thinking, they approach patient-therapist interaction in terms of the continuous exchange of "presentational data" by patient and analyst. These data enable patient and therapist alike to "know" more about the other than can ever be expressed in propositional terms.
This perspective assigns an important role to what Piaget would term "the cognitive unconscious" in the clinical process. It likewise sustains a view of the countertransference - which includes the analyst's own dreams - as a vital source of presentational data about the patient. As Donnel Stern notes in his Introduction, these and other insights "amount to a surprisingly contemporary description of psychoanalytic treatment."
"We might say that Prelogical Experience amounts to an interpersonalized ego psychology, a psychoanalytic way of thinking about mind that takes into account the influence of interpersonal relations on the structure of mind, and on what experience can be from one moment to the next. In this, Tauber and Green were continuing not only the emphasis of Fromm, but also that of Sullivan, whose concepts of selective inattention, dissociation, and the self-system were groundbreaking entries in the same set of observations."
- Donnel Stern, Ph.D., Author, Unformulated Experience (Analytic Press, 1997)
Introduction. The Prelogical Processes in Human Experience. Language, Symbols, and Scientific Method. The Creative Function of the Image. Symbolization and the Maturation Process. The Human Situation as Reflected in Perceptual Experience. Subthreshold Phenomena in the Perceptual Processes. Subthreshold Phenomena in Altered States of Consciousness. Extrasensory Perception. An Inquiry into the Therapist-Patient Relationship. Countertransference and Subthreshold Communication. Some Observations on Dreams and Dream Analysis. The Dream as a Message.
When music is played in a new key, the melody does not change, but the notes that make up the composition do: change in the context of continuity, continuity that perseveres through change. Psychoanalysis in a New Key publishes books that share the aims psychoanalysts have always had, but that approach them differently. The books in the series are not expected to advance any particular theoretical agenda, although to this date most have been written by analysts from the Interpersonal and Relational orientations.
The most important contribution of a psychoanalytic book is the communication of something that nudges the reader’s grasp of clinical theory and practice in an unexpected direction. Psychoanalysis in a New Key creates a deliberate focus on innovative and unsettling clinical thinking. Because that kind of thinking is encouraged by exploration of the sometimes surprising contributions to psychoanalysis of ideas and findings from other fields, Psychoanalysis in a New Key particularly encourages interdisciplinary studies. Books in the series have married psychoanalysis with dissociation, trauma theory, sociology, and criminology. The series is open to the consideration of studies examining the relationship between psychoanalysis and any other field – for instance, biology, literary and art criticism, philosophy, systems theory, anthropology, and political theory.
But innovation also takes place within the boundaries of psychoanalysis, and Psychoanalysis in a New Key therefore also presents work that reformulates thought and practice without leaving the precincts of the field. Books in the series focus, for example, on the significance of personal values in psychoanalytic practice, on the complex interrelationship between the analyst’s clinical work and personal life, on the consequences for the clinical situation when patient and analyst are from different cultures, and on the need for psychoanalysts to accept the degree to which they knowingly satisfy their own wishes during treatment hours, often to the patient’s detriment.