Psychoanalytic Collisions Second Edition wrestles with a theme that confronts every psychotherapist: the gap between illusions and realities about the professional self. Joyce Slochower closely examines situations in which the therapist’s professional and personal wishes collide with the actuality of everyday clinical work. The book unpacks the dynamics of these collisions on both beginning and seasoned therapists, offering ways of sustaining a professional ideal while also exploring the mixed impact of that ideal on clinical work. In examining how illusions and ideals affect the therapeutic encounter for both better and worse, Psychoanalytic Collisions invites the reader into the consulting room.
This Second Edition has been substantially revised. It includes updated clinical and theoretical material as well as a new chapter about mutual idealizations that coalesce between patient and analyst. Slochower argues that psychoanalytic collisions can be productively engaged, even if they often cannot be fully resolved.The very act of engagement—whether by establishing new grounds for collaboration in the wake of real-world catastrophe, wrestling with clinical impasses that arise from the divergent expectations of analyst and patient, or owning up to and addressing the analyst’s "secret delinquencies"—reveals how therapeutic hopefulness can coexist with an acceptance of the analyst’s all-too-human fallibility.
Psychoanalytic Collisions shows how idealization is intrinsic both to forging an analytic identity and practicing across a lifetime. Slochower’s work challenges readers to confront their own vulnerabilities and limits while also embracing a professional ideal that is at once human and inspiring. The book is an essential resource for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, pastoral counselors, and readers interested in the practice of psychotherapy today.
Table of Contents
Introduction - Hope and Limits in Psychoanalysis.Part I: Personal/Professional Struggles. Therapeutic Illusions. Negotiating a Personal Idiom.Creating Inner Space: The Psychoanalytic Writer.The Analyst’s Secret Delinquencies. Part II: Collisions in the Analytic Encounter.Existential Crises in the Consulting Room. Emotional Collisions.Theoretical Collisions in an Analytic Enclave. Asymmetrical and Colliding Idealizations. Mutual Idealizations and the Disavowed.The Ideal and the Actual.
Joyce Slochower is Professor Emerita at Hunter College and Graduate Center, the City University of New York. She is on the Faculty of the New York University Postdoctoral Program, the Steven Mitchell Center, the National Training Program of the National Institute for the Psychotherapies, the Philadelphia Center for Relational Studies, and the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California in San Francisco. She is the author of Holding and Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2014) and over sixty papers. She is in private practice in New York City.
"In recommending the first edition of Psychoanalytic Collisions, I wrote that it was "a wise book, a mature book, a book that every psychoanalyst and psychodynamic psychotherapist will profit from reading." That remains true. But now Slochower has added updated clinical material and two new chapters, one a meditation on challenges that led the author to rethink her approach to trauma work, the other a fascinating examination of the role of idealizations, both the analyst’s and patient’s, on the treatments by Winnicott of Khan and Guntrip. In some ways, you are lucky if you didn’t read the first edition of this fine book—because this edition is even better." – Donnel Stern, PhD
"Joyce Slochower's Psychoanalytic Collisions is the rare book that speaks to practitioners across theoretical orientations, levels of experience, and personal sensibilities. This revised edition offers even more humanity and depth than its predecessor; the descriptions of patients and therapeutic collaborations exemplify the emotional honesty for which its author is well known. Seasoned therapists should read it for its nuanced exploration of their world. Beginners should read it for its orienting wisdom - and then read it again in ten years." – Nancy McWilliams, PhD, ABPP, Rutgers Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, USA