1st Edition

Questioning Identities Philosophy in Psychoanalytic Practice

By Mary Lynne Ellis, Noreen O'Connor Copyright 2010
    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    Face-to-face with differences in the analytical relationship analysts frequently confront the limitations of their theories. In this book Mary Lynne Ellis and Noreen O'Connor move to the heart of 21st century intertwining of psychoanalytical and philosophical critical reflections. From an intersectional perspective they highlight how philosophical analyses of language, embodiment, time, history, and conscious/unconscious experiences can contribute to clinical interpretations of gender, sexuality, race, age, culture, and class. Vital to Questioning Identities: Philosophy in Psychoanalytic Practice is its emphasis on clinical material, and on attentiveness to the uniqueness of individuals' articulations of their desires and identities.

    Introduction -- Passionate differences -- Who speaks? Who listens? Different voices and different sexualities -- Is Melanie Klein the one who knows who you really are? -- The an-arche of psychoanalysis -- Shifting the ego towards a body subject -- Subjects of perversion -- (Dis)continuous identities and the time of the other -- Images of sexualities; Language and embodiment in art therapy -- Homophobia is the patient -- Listening differently in the face-to-face


    Mary Lynne Ellis (B.A. Art and Design, Diploma in Art Therapy, Dip. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (1994), M.A. Art Therapy, and M.A.Modern European Philosophy) is in private practice as a relational analytical psychotherapist in North London. She has also worked as an art therapist in the NHS, as the clinical director of a lesbian and gay counselling and psychotherapy centre and as a psychotherapist in a therapeutic community. She has taught on art therapy and psychotherapy trainings in the UK and Ireland and is a training analyst and a supervisor. She has published and lectured widely (including in the UK and Chile) on phenomenological perspectives in relational analytical practices, Her other publications include Time in Practice; Analytical Perspectives on the Times of Our Lives (Karnac/Routledge, 2008) Mary Lynne Ellis is also a practising artist. 

    Noreen O’Connor (B.A., M.A. First Class Hons., PhD Contemporary European Philosophy, Dip. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy 1988) is in private practice as a relational analytical psychotherapist in North London. She has also worked as a psychotherapist in a university counselling service and has taught philosophy in a number of universities and social philosophy in adult education centres in Britain and Ireland. She has been a training committee member of three psychoanalytic psychotherapy organisations in London where she has also taught, supervised, and been a training analyst, alongside her supervision of qualified analysts. She has published and lectured widely on post-modernist phenomenological and relational perspectives in psychoanalytic practice. Her other publications include the widely cited book, Wild Desires and Mistaken Identities; Lesbianism and Psychoanalysis, co-authored with Joanna Ryan (Virago 1993, reprinted Karnac/Routledge, 2003).

    ‘This welcome book shows up some of the mistaken beliefs about identities and particularly sexual minorities held in the psychoanalytic profession... . Unusually, the case examples are diverse, drawn from a variety of class and ethnic backgrounds... The authors... rigorously use both philosophical and psychoanalytic work to examine the therapeutic process. Like Wild Desires and Mistaken Identities, it will provoke a great deal of thought and discussion.'

    - Lennox K. Thomas, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, BAP, Nafsiyat, UK.

    'This excellent book offers a revision of psychoanalytic theory. In a compassionate account of individual human experience Ellis and O'Connor locate their inspiring insights within the context of 20th century philosophy...This is an innovative contribution and will appeal to a wide range of readers including clinicians and theorists, students and experienced practitioners; indeed, all who are interested in psychoanalysis.'

    - Professor Joy Schaverien, Ph.D., Jungian Psychoanalyst in private practice. Author of Desire and the Female Therapist and The Dying Patient in Psychotherapy

    'In this original book Ellis and O'Connor argue for the critical importance of an encounter between psychoanalytic and contemporary European philosophical texts, as well as of race and cultural theory. Their sensitive and engaging case illustrations show how this encounter can help us to generate more nuanced interpretations of an individual's sense of identity and difference in the analytical relationship. They offer a dynamic portrait of the socio-historical specificity of a person's lived embodiment in the co-created space of the analytic dyad.'

    - Jessica Benjamin, Psychoanalyst, Professor, NYU Postdoctoral Psychology Program. Author of Shadow of the Other: Intersubjectivity and Gender in Psychoanalysis

    'This is an intellectually brilliant work for it powerfully questions the psychoanalytic tradition that held philosophical thinking suspect... Ellis and O'Connor emphasize attentiveness to the singularity of psychic suffering, but also take it as the suffering of an embodied being in the world... This new practice challenges the deep-seated belief that "we need to know who we really are in order to be able to live"....’

    - Zeynep Direk, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Galatasaray University, Istanbul. Author of Levinas and Kierkegaard: Ethics and Politics (in Kierkegaard and Levinas: Ethics, Politics and Religion, edited by Wood and Simmons).

    'This book is an ethically challenging and philosophically adventurous work... Ellis and O'Connor explore how philosophical questions of time, embodiment, experience and otherness can be posed in and through psychoanalytic practice. This book is a delightful read.'

    - Sara Ahmed, Professor of Race and Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College and author of Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects and Others and The Promise of Happiness

    'This revolutionary book represents an absolutely vital intervention. It works productively, creatively, and provocatively in the spaces between philosophy and psychoanalysis... Interdisciplinary in the best way it allows philosophy to confront psychoanalysis, and it uses psychoanalysis in new, inventive ways as a result of that encounter.'

    - Tina Chanter, Professor of Philosophy, DePaul University, Chicago. Author of The Picture of Abjection: Film, Fetish, and the Nature of Difference