Relational Psychoanalysis and Temporality: Time Out of Mind, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Relational Psychoanalysis and Temporality

Time Out of Mind, 1st Edition

By Neil J. Skolnick


272 pages

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pub: 2019-08-02
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In Relational Psychoanalysis and Temporality, Neil J. Skolnick traces his personal evolution from a graduate student through to his career as a relational psychoanalyst. Skolnick uniquely shares his publications and presentations that span his professional career, weaving in issues around temporality.

Accessible and deeply thought-provoking, this book explores the many ways our lives are pervaded and shaped by time, and how it infuses the problems that psychoanalysts work with in the consulting room. Skolnick begins each chapter with an introduction, contextualizing the papers in his own evolution as a relational analyst as well as in the broader evolution of the relational conceit in the psychoanalytic field. Following an incisive description of the realities and mysteries of time, he highlights how psychoanalysts have applied temporal phenomena to the psychoanalytic process. The papers and presentations address an assortment of time-worn psychoanalytic issues as they have become redefined, reconfigured and re-contextualized by the application of a relational psychoanalytic perspective. It charts the changes in the field and the author's practice across the trajectory of his career. This book is a fascinating guide to how our lives are contextualized by time, illuminating the ways time influences psychoanalytic thinking and practice.

Relational Psychoanalysis and Temporality will be of immense interest to psychoanalysts, psychoanalytic psychotherapists and therapists of all persuasions in their practice and training. It should also be of interest to philosophers, historians and scholars of psychoanalysis who have a general interest in studying the role of psychoanalysis in influencing contemporary trends of Western thought.


"How often have you had the opportunity to follow a scholar and thinker’s transformation from academic psychologist and laboratory researcher to psychoanalyst? Never, I wager. But that fascinating thread of development is just the beginning of what you will find here. Neil Skolnick uses the theme of temporality to examine the development of his own substantial contributions to the field, offering introductions that contextualize each chapter in psychoanalytic history. In the process he gives us a compelling account of the development of relational psychoanalysis. If you want to grasp the relational turn, follow the thread of Skolnick’s work. He has been there for all of it." - Donnel Stern, Ph.D., William Alanson White Institute and NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis

"In this scholarly, lucid, and compelling volume, Neil Skolnick takes on a range of topics that he creatively links to the overarching theme of time. This fascinating theme has rarely been explored from a relational psychoanalytic perspective. Yet time silently shapes much of our experience within and outside the analytic encounter.

Skolnick enacts something of time’s complex effect by tracing the evolution of his own professional thinking across the broad sweep of his career, from his beginnings as a doctoral research candidate. He leaves us in the present, where he muses about the limits of relational theory.

En route, Skolnick moves across a range of conceptual dimensions and clinical issues. He challenges and re-sculpts existing psychoanalytic wisdom about several issues. One chapter, for example, offers a new take on Fairbairn by proposing the existence of an unconscious good object, something of an oxymoron in traditional Fairbairnian thinking. In a chapter on the use of the couch, Skolnick again challenges our traditional understanding by arguing against a perspective linking the couch tightly with "true analysis."

Skolnick’s broad and measured book is thick with personal, clinical, and theoretical reflections that push the reader to think outside the box. It invites the reader ‘in’ and invites us to theorize hard and question hard. A pleasure to have a new book from such a creative clinician and thinker." - Joyce Slochower, Ph.D.; NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

"Neil Skolnick’s Relational Psychoanalysis and Temporality is really several fascinating books in one. Written in an accessible, scholarly yet unburdened way, Skolnick takes an essential axis in psychoanalytic theory, temporality, and weaves it through the fabric of clinical work and the evolution of contemporary psychoanalytic theory. Skolnick offers a rich understanding of the relationship between patient and analyst’s internal objects and the unique intersubjective field. Finally, readers will also discover a sophisticated historical view of the history of ideas and concepts developed within the relational tradition. It is an imaginative journey filled with appreciation and criticism of relational theory, inspiring questions about our next turns in psychoanalytic theory." - Steven H. Cooper, Ph.D.; Associate Professor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Table of Contents

Foreward by Nancy McWilliams; Introduction; Chapter 1: Time Out of Mind; Chapter 2: Vertical Transmission of Acquired Ulcer Susceptibility in the Rat by Neil Skolnick, Sigurd Ackerman, Myron Hofer and Herbert Wiener; Chapter 3: Secrets in Clinical Work: A Relational Point of View by Neil Skolnick and Jodie Messler Davies; Chapter 4: The Good, the Bad and the Ambivalent: Fairbairn’s Difficulty in Locating the Good Object in the Endopsychic Structure; Chapter 5: What’s a Good Object to Do? A Fairbairnian Perspective; Chapter 6: Termination in Psychoanalysis: It’s About Time; Chapter 7: Resilience Across the Lifespan: A Confluence of Narratives; Chapter 8: Rethinking the Use of the Couch: A Relational Perspective; Chapter 9: Relational Psychoanalysis: An Assessment at This Time; References; Index

About the Author

Neil J. Skolnick, Ph.D. is currently an Associate Clinical Professor at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. He is a faculty member, supervisor and past member of the Board of Directors at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP) and its affiliates, the Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity (IPSS}, and the National Training Program (NTP). He is faculty and supervisor at the Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (WCSPP). He maintains a private practice in psychoanalysis and supervision in Manhattan.

About the Series

Relational Perspectives Book Series

The Relational Perspectives Book Series (RPBS) publishes books that grow out of or contribute to the relational tradition in contemporary psychoanalysis. The term relational psychoanalysis was first used by Greenberg and Mitchell (1983) to bridge the traditions of interpersonal relations, as developed within interpersonal psychoanalysis and object relations, as developed within contemporary British theory. But, under the seminal work of the late Stephen Mitchell, the term relational psychoanalysis grew and began to accrue to itself many other influences and developments. Various tributaries—interpersonal psychoanalysis, object relations theory, self psychology, empirical infancy research, and elements of contemporary Freudian and Kleinian thought—flow into this tradition, which understands relational configurations between self and others, both real and fantasied, as the primary subject of psychoanalytic investigation.  

We refer to the relational tradition, rather than to a relational school, to highlight that we are identifying a trend, a tendency within contemporary psychoanalysis, not a more formally organized or coherent school or system of beliefs. Our use of the term relational signifies a dimension of theory and practice that has become salient across the wide spectrum of contemporary psychoanalysis. Now under the editorial supervision of Lewis Aron and Adrienne Harris with the assistance of Associate Editors Steven Kuchuck and Eyal Rozmarin, the Relational Perspectives Book Series originated in 1990 under the editorial eye of the late Stephen A. Mitchell. Mitchell was the most prolific and influential of the originators of the relational tradition. He was committed to dialogue among psychoanalysts and he abhorred the authoritarianism that dictated adherence to a rigid set of beliefs or technical restrictions. He championed open discussion, comparative and integrative approaches, and he promoted new voices across the generations.  

Included in the Relational Perspectives Book Series are authors and works that come from within the relational tradition, extend and develop the tradition, as well as works that critique relational approaches or compare and contrast it with alternative points of view. The series includes our most distinguished senior psychoanalysts along with younger contributors who bring fresh vision.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health