1st Edition

The Anatomy of Psychotherapy

ISBN 9781138872165
Published June 23, 2015 by Routledge
616 Pages

USD $56.95

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Book Description

Over the past decades, Lawrence Friedman has emerged as one of the most erudite and provocative theoriss in contemporary psychotherapy. The Anatomy of Psychotherapy interweaves Friedman's major contributions to the analytic and psychiatric literature with extensive new material in arriving at an extraordinarily rich and nuanced appreciation of psychotherapy.

The Anatomy of Psychotherapy describes how the therapist makes use of theories and styles in order to achieve equilibrium under stress.  This stress, according to Friedman, is related to the "absolute ambiguity" that is essential to psychotherapy. To cope with this ambiguity, the therapist alternates among three different roles, those of reader, historian, and pragmatic operator.  Friedman examines these "disambiguating postures" in detail, paying special attention to their bearing on the therapist's narrative prejudice, the relativity of his knowledge, and the relationship of his work to natural science and hermeneutics.

Brilliantly constructed and masterfully written, The Anatomy of Psychotherapy traverses the same basic themes in each of its six sections.  Readers who are interested in theory can hone in on relevant topics or the work of particular theorists.  Readers seeking insight into the demands of daily clinical work, on the other hand, can bypass the systematic studies and immerse themselves in Friedman's engrossing reflections on the experience of psychotherapy.  Best served will be those who ponder Friedman's writings and therapy as complementary meditations issuing from a single, unifying vision, one in which psychotherapy, in both its promise and frustrations, becomes a subtle interplay among theories about psychotherapy, the personal styles of psychotherapists, and the practical exigencies of aiding those in distress.

Table of Contents

I. Theory and Practice: The Trouble with Psychotherapy  1. Whatever Happened to the Therapist's Discomfort?  2. Discomfort Reflected in Theory: The Therapeutic Alliance  3. Looking to Theory for Help  4. Descriptive Help from Theory: Trends in the Psychoanalytic Theory of Treatment  5. Other Uses of Theory  6. Overview  II. Practice Observed  7. Leaving Theory Temporarily  8. What Moves the Therapist?  9. Therapy Tasks that Theoy Must Explain  10. Therapy Tasks: How the Therapist Makes Sense of the Patient  11. Therapy Tasks: How the Patient Makes Sense of the Therapist  III. Theory of the Mind: The Tool of Psychotherapy  12. Why Bother with Theory of the Mind?  13. The Historical Context  14. Freud's Foothold  15. Constructions of Freud's Paradigmatic Theory  16. Conclusion: The Nature and Function of a Theory of the Mind  IV. Debate About Theory of the Mind: Revisions  17. Introduction  18. Peterfreund's Information-Processing Theory  19. Phenomenological Theory: Mind as a World of Representations  20. Schafer's Action Language  21. Levenson's Perspectivism  22. Gendlin's Vitalism  23. George Klein's Equilibrium Theory  24.  Piaget's General Project  25. Piaget and Psychotherapy  26. Kohut's Mixed Theory  27. The Common Thread: Holism  28. Summary: The Need to Balance Perception and Influence  V. What is a Psychotherapist  29. Ambiguity as a Discipline  30. Disambiguating Postures: General Considerations  31. Disambiguating Postures: The Reading Imperative  32. Disambiguating Postures: The Therapist's Historicism  33. Disambiguating Postures: The Therapist as Operator  34. How It Fits Together: Performable Model and Metaphor  VI. Implications  35. Conclusion: No Resting Place  36. Training  37. The Future

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Lawrence Friedman, M.D., is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and a member of the History of Psychiatry section of the Department of Psychiatry, Cornell University Medical College.  Dr. Friedman is the 1985 recipient of the American Psychoanalytic Association's Distinguished Contributor Award.


"For the first time, the psychoanalytic theory of treatment has received the detailed, penetrating, and resourceful scrutiny hitherto reserved for psychopathology.  Friedman's work appears at a critical time, when psychological efforts are under heavy attack and in need of this systematic and profound presentation."

- Leston Havens, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

“It is a treasure trove of thoughtful ideas in which exposition, exploration, and criticism are harmoniously interwoven.”

- Steven T. Levy, M.D., Psychoanalytic Quarterly

“Psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, supervisors, teachers, and students of the field will find this a rich and rewarding work.  It will influence the way I supervise, teach, and talk to patients for the rest of my career.”

- Robert Michels, M.D.. Department of Psychiatry, Cornell University Medical College