Spontaneity : A Psychoanalytic Inquiry book cover
1st Edition

A Psychoanalytic Inquiry

ISBN 9780415492690
Published May 11, 2009 by Routledge
160 Pages

SAVE ~ $9.99
was $49.95
USD $39.96

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Psychoanalytic theory frequently explains psychopathology from the perspective of either inadequate early care or as the result of environmental factors. In this book the author suggests that poor mental health can be a result of our incapacity to respond to internal and external stimuli, and indicates that spontaneity is essential in the development of many aspects of the self.

It is not what happens to us, but how we react to events, that forms who we are. Spontaneity presents an original approach to issues of agency, spontaneity and creativity in psychoanalysis by exploring questions including:

  • active internalisation
  • paradox
  • forgiveness
  • responsibility
  • empathy
  • self de-creation.

This book will be essential reading for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, philosophers and psychologists. It will also prove to be engaging for those interested in psychoanalytic theory and theories of subjectivity.

Table of Contents

Introductory Remarks. Rethinking Internalization. The Function of Paradox. Subjective Agency – And Passivity. The Problem of Entitlement. Actions and Reactions. The Question of Forgiveness. The Quest for Responsibility. Empathy and Sympathy. Self Formation and Self-Decreation.

View More



Gemma Corradi Fiumara is a former professor of philosophy at the Third University of Rome and a training analyst with the Italian Psychoanalytic Society.  Her previous books include The Symbolic FunctionThe Other Side of LanguageThe Metaphoric Process and The Mind's Affective Life.


"Whether on philosophy, psychoanalysis, or just the process of living, whatever Gemma Corradi Fiumara writes is fresh and insightful, and this new book is no exception." - Janet Martin Soskice, University of Cambridge, UK

"Rarely does a book tackle essential problems in such a fascinating and convincing way. It deals with that very special human quality-spontaneity-which ultimately sustains all creative processes. It also explores the defensive manoeuvres that oppose spontaneity. This lucid and incisive book can be utilized at different levels of complexity. Not only are the contents of the book enriching, but its passion for the frontiers of research will enhance the creativity of readers." - Antonino Ferro, Italian Psychoanalytic Society, Pavia, Italy

"Professor Corradi Fiumara seeks to lift psychoanalytic thinking from the creature-driven level of psychic determinism to the higher level of spontaneity, unpredictability, humanness – as metapsychological constructs. I found this to be an exciting and innovative work." - James Grotstein, author of A Beam of Intense Darkness: Wilfred Bion's Legacy To Psychoanalysis 

"I strongly recommend this stimulating book which deals with areas mainly neglected so far. I am sure that it will bring moments of joy and new insights to its readers." - Claudio Eizirik, President, International Psychoanalytic Association

 "I highly recommend this book to all practicing analysts. It offers neither prescriptions nor proscriptions; instead, it provides a consistent and much-needed analytic reflection about our active participation in all aspects of our own psychic life in health and pathology. It softly calls for a new manner of looking at our patients and our theories in regard to causality and determinism, in contrast to the ever-present psychici potential for creative and spontaneous psychic action. This book is beautifully written in a style endowed with a subtle but persistent Socratic irony. It is a pleasure to read." - Ana Maria Rizzuto, The Psychoanalytic Quarterly

"This is an intriguing and informative blend of humanistic philosophy, linguistics, existentialism, and psychoanalysis. It requires a reading that is slow, takes frequent contemplative breaks, and is circular insofar as the reader often revisits passages already read. Such impulse to turn pages back and connect with ideas express in a previous chapter--or the one before it--is not belabored. It is spontaneous (in the spirit of the book's topic) and invariably rewarding." -Salman Akhtar M.D., American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 2014