1st Edition

Relational Conversations on Meeting and Becoming The Birth of a True Other

Edited By Michal Barnea-Astrog, Mitchel Becker Copyright 2023
    226 Pages
    by Routledge

    226 Pages
    by Routledge

    Demonstrating a relational, dialogic way of thinking and writing, this book offers an innovative perspective on the human potential for intersubjective engagement and on the nature of true encounter.

    The authors engage in creative, associative dialogues and trialogues inspired by psychoanalysis and Buddhism, poetry and religion, theory and case studies, academic and free styles of writing – each enriching the other. Reflecting on the essence of relating, they convey a flow between inner, private reveries and shared ones, and between individual expressions of thought and evolvements of newly born thirds. Through this interdisciplinary, experimental setting, the authors explore the possibility to reach truths and meanings that each individual would not have achieved on their own.

    Offering new concepts and formulations that may nourish psychotherapists’ thought and be usefully implemented in their practice, this book presents a pressingly unique and essential viewpoint for psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists in training and in practice.


    Mitchel Becker and Michal Barnea-Astrog

    1. First Dialogue: Creation and the True Other 

    Mitchel Becker and Rina Lazar 

    i. The Birth of a True Other

    Mitchel Becker 

    ii. Meeting the Ultimate Other - Allowing the Creation

    Rina Lazar 

    iii. In the Beginning There Was an Other 

    Mitchel Becker

    2. I Call Out to You: An Associative Trialogue 

    Michal Barnea-Astrog and Mitchel Becker

    3. Second Dialogue: Becoming, Spaciousness, and Vitality 

    Michal Barnea-Astrog and Yorai Sella

    i. Going on Being: On the Fear of Ceasing and the Need to Go On 

    Michal Barnea-Astrog

    ii. Making Space for the Mess: The At-one-ment of Going On

    Yorai Sella 

    iii. The Echo Chamber Is Not Empty: On Limitation and Vastness, Spaciousness and Nourishment 

    Michal Barnea-Astrog 

    4. Is Truth a Testimonial Process? The Need for a Testimonial Other for the Reestablishment of Truth and for Healing of Trauma: An Associative Trialogue 

    Clara Mucci, Michal Barnea-Astrog and Mitchel Becker

    i. Thinking Further: Trauma and Witnessing in the Context of the Verbal and Non-verbal Messages of Society, and the Relational Nature of the World

    Paul R. Fleischman, Mitchel Becker and Michal Barnea-Astrog

    5. Third Dialogue: The Haiku Interpretation and the Chain of Caesuras 

    Hilit Erel-Brodsky and Hagit Aharoni

    i. In the Blink of an Eye: The Minimalist Interpretation 

    Hilit Erel-Brodsky

    ii. And You Said Mmhmm  

    Hagit Aharoni

    iii. In a Few Words 

    Hilit Erel-Brodsky 

    6. On "No Experience" With All My Heart and Soul: An Associative Trialogue 

    Mitchel Becker, Michal Barnea-Astrog and Paul R. Fleischman

    Epilogue: The Clouds of Knowing

    Michal Barnea-Astrog


    Michal Barnea-Astrog is a senior Hakomi trainer and author of Carved by Experience (Karnac, 2017), Psychoanalytic and Buddhist Reflections on Gentleness (Routledge, 2019), and the novels Migration (Pardess, 2021) and The Coming Years (Shta’yim, in press).

    Mitchel Becker is a clinical psychologist in private practice, lecturer at the Psychotherapy Programs of Bar Ilan University, and supervisor at the Psychotherapy Program of Tel Aviv University.

    ‘A beautiful book. A dialogical exploration of the human condition drawing on science, philosophy, psychology, poetry, art, spirituality – which is to say, open, un-dogmatic, and resourceful. One feels appreciation of life’s depths and surfaces, one’s own life and life of the Other. The writing is down to earth, personal and accessible, drawing on a rich background of human struggle, backslides and growth. We are born all life long and the Work of the Other furthers contact with the Work of Being.’

    Michael Eigen, author of The Challenge of Being Human, The Sensitive Self, The Psychoanalytic Mystic, and Contact with the Depths.

    ‘This book is an intriguing journey in search of our basic experience of otherness in its various manifestations. There is a beautiful variance of voices that come together in a space of mutual enhancement. The concepts of dialogue and of trueness are dealt with in a unique fashion, in which the writers actively follow each other in the here and now. They thus inspire a hope that we as therapists and as human beings can rediscover our natural urge and curiosity for relations, for opening to the unknown, for co-creating.’

    Ofra Eshel, faculty, training and supervising analyst, Israel Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, and honorary member of the New Center for Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles; author of The Emergence of Analytic Oneness: Into the Heart of Psychoanalysis

    ‘We can no more change our heartfelt commitments by talking to ourselves, than by defensively reiterating them in divisive dispute. But conversing with trusted others can. Glimpsing ourselves reflected in their caring eyes, enables the kind of potentially transformative self- distancing we can never achieve alone. Relational Conversations explores this epitome of relational psychology with uncanny insight, first by taking the psychotherapeutic dialogical interaction between analyst and patient as paradigmatic of true otherness, and by reflecting on it in a series of truly transformative non-Socratic dialogues.’

    Menachem Fisch, professor emeritus of history and philosophy of science, director of the Center for Religious and Interreligious Studies at Tel Aviv University, and author of The View from Within: Normativity and the Limits of Self-Criticism; Creatively Undecided: Toward a History and Philosophy of Scientific Agency; Dialogues of Reason: Science, Politics, Religion, and other books