The Clinical Erik Erikson : A Psychoanalytic Method of Engagement and Activation book cover
1st Edition

The Clinical Erik Erikson
A Psychoanalytic Method of Engagement and Activation

ISBN 9781138853355
Published March 24, 2016 by Routledge
182 Pages 48 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The twentieth century has been described as the time of man’s discovery of himself; few have contributed more to this cause than Erik Erikson. The Clinical Erik Erikson: A psychoanalytic method of engagement and activation highlights Erikson’s transforming contributions to the field of psychoanalysis and honors his legacy by providing unpublished clinical case illustrations of his psychotherapeutic work.

The publication of case material—simple memorable fragments and clinical vignettes— brings the reader into Erikson’s consultation room, providing a portrait of his clinical technique and demonstrating how he actually worked.

Stephen Schlein, an authority on Erikson, presents an illuminating account of Erikson’s pioneering work through an exhaustive search of his early monographs on child psychoanalysis, clinical writings, psychotherapeutic case studies, and participation at case conferences at The Austen Riggs Center.

Erikson’s writings reveal a psychoanalytic method of extraordinary richness that emphasizes essential ingredients of an interpersonal-relational clinical method and articulates interactional dimensions that have restorative potential. His vision focuses on the interpersonal relationship, its powerful affects, and a belief that human beings have a potent capacity for real change. This book will be essential reading for psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgment. Introductory Remarks. Personal Reflections: Erik Erikson’s 100th Birthday Celebration at The Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, August 24, 2002. Perspectives on Erikson’s Clinical-Psychotherapeutic Work with Children and Adults. Configurations of Children’s Play: "Toys and Reasons". Exploration in the Interpretation of Children’s Play and Child Psychoanalysis: "Psychoanalysis without Words" and "Play and Cure". Erikson and the Clinical Case Conference at the Austen Riggs Center: Visual Observations and Reflections about Treatment. Adult Psychoanalysis, Part I: An Introduction to Erikson’s Psychotherapeutic Work Utilizing Clinical Case Material. Adult Psychoanalysis, Part II: An In-Depth Perspective of Erikson’s Clinical Method: The Story of James. Adult Psychoanalysis, Part III: An Investigation into Erikson’s Psychoanalytic Treatment Method and Technique. Erikson’s Psychotherapeutic Treatment of Adolescents: An Existential/Developmental Perspective. References

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Stephen Schlein, a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, received his clinical training at The Austen Riggs Center where he first met and studied with Erik Erikson. He was a member of the teaching faculty of the Harvard Medical School, serving as a clinical supervisor. He taught with Erikson at the Erikson Center of Cambridge Hospital and collaborated with him as the editor of Erikson’s selected papers: A Way of Looking At Things. Currently he lectures on Erikson’s writings throughout the United States and abroad. He serves on the teaching faculty at the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis and as a guest faculty at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute. He maintains a clinical practice in Lexington, Massachusetts.


"We need Erik Erikson today. We need from psychoanalysis the intelligence, sensitivity and disciplined daring to engage the role of public intellectual, a role into which Erikson was, to his surprise and occasional chagrin, inevitably drawn and a role he could take up because of his restless curiosity to relate the clinical encounter to the world around him. These excursions into history, anthropology and other fields are well known and serve as models for the interdisciplinarity essential to addressing our more intractable problems; this volume's great contribution is to open for us - to bring us deeply into contact with - the clinical Erikson and the intimate relatedness to one person's history and pain in which his larger work is grounded. Erikson famously commented that all he had to offer was "a way of looking at things;" Dr. Schlein, respectfully and caringly, works through Erikson's shyness to show us the place from which he could see these things, namely, the world as opened up between two people, one of whom is in the service of the other's psychological growth. This book is a fascinating window into how Erikson acquired not only understanding but his authority as well."-M. Gerard Fromm, Ph.D., Senior Consultant, Erikson Institute for Education and Research, Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, Massachusetts

"Schlein worked with Erikson and offers us for the first time a chance to learn about Erik Erikson’s clinical psychoanalytic work and thinking. He does a great service by bringing this to public awareness. He also helps to spell out ways that he believes Erikson’s clinical work relies on essential ingredients of an interpersonal method and ways in which it articulates interactional dimensions that facilitate growth and restorative potential. This book will be of great interest to those who have always wondered about the "clinical" Erikson, and it also will be of great interest to those who never thought to wonder about it before."-Darlene Ehrenberg, PhD., William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Psychology and New York University Post-Doctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis

"This well organized and engaging book is a most welcome addition to the many books and articles by and about one of the best known psychoanalysts of the twentieth Century. Having been in the enviable position of being this master teacher’s student and confidant, Dr. Schlein focused on a little known aspect of Erikson’s life: on his extraordinary skill as a clinician. Erikson’s psychoanalytic colleagues and others interested in how a gifted clinician works will appreciate the carefully selected clinical illustrations. It is a rare gift to get such a "close-up" view of an analyst’s thinking as is being offered here, with direct citations from Erikson’s hand written clinical notes. It required insight and great discipline by Dr.Schlein to organize this rich material in a most readable and entertaining manner."-Anna Ornstein, M.D., is Professor Emerita of Child Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati and Lecturer in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

"Schlein shines an intimate, tender, contemporary light on what, for many of us, remained an enigma: Had Erikson ever actually translated his brilliant, overarching, psychosocial vision of identity and the life cycle—as well as imaginative play therapy with children—into a way of thinking about psychoanalytic psychotherapy with late adolescents and adults? Was Erikson able to maintain the radical elements of his own identity as a theorist while fitting himself into the mid-century, ego psychological world of Austin Riggs Hospital? Comparative analysts of all stripes will savor Schlein’s deeply informed depiction of Erikson’s clinical work in light of the more challenging paradigm shifts that were simultaneously emerging in the work of Erikson’s contemporaries—especially Winnicott and Kohut—whose thinking lacked his cultural and historical scope yet notably shared much of his overall clinical sensibility."-Malcolm Owen Slavin, Ph.D., founder, past president, faculty and supervisor at the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis, MIP. Author of The Adaptive Design of the Human Psyche: Psychoanalysis, Evolutionary Biology and the Therapeutic Process (with Daniel Kriegman), and, in process, Original Loss: Human Identity and Existential Grief. As a student, he worked as a teaching fellow at Harvard for Erik Erikson.