The Dove that Returns, The Dove that Vanishes: Paradox and Creativity in Psychoanalysis, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Dove that Returns, The Dove that Vanishes

Paradox and Creativity in Psychoanalysis, 1st Edition

By Michael Parsons


240 pages

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The nature of psychoanalysis seems contradictory - deeply personal, subjective and intuitive, yet requiring systematic theory and principles of technique.

In The Dove that Returns, The Dove that Vanishes, Michael Parsons explores the tension of this paradox. As they respond to it and struggle to sustain creatively, analysts discover their individual identities. The work of outstanding clinicians such as Marion Milner and John Klauber is examined in detail. The reader also encounters oriental martial arts, greek Tragedy, the landscape painting of John Constable, a Winnicottian theory of creativity and a discussion of the significance of play in psychoanalysis. From such varied topics evolves a deepening apprehension of the nature of the clinical experience.

Illustrated throughout , The Dove that Returns, The Dove that Vanishes will prove valuable to those in the field of psychoanalysis, and to those in the arts and humanities who are interested in contemporary psychoanalytic thinking.


"Few books that I know are a panoramic, kaleidoscopic, dialectically based and aphoristic as Michael Parson's The Dove that Returns, The Dove that Vanishes… a book whose style is beyond question and whose message is profoundly meaningful. This is compromised of a sustained elucidation of the paradoxical nature of our clinical work, our theories and indeed our very identities as psychoanalysts. In all these realms, Parsons presents arguments to contain polarities of deliberateness and spontaneity, knowledge and surprise, credulousness and skepticism, and discipline and freedom." - Salman Akhtar, The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, Volume 83

"Whatever their theoretical allegiance, everyone who reads this impressive book will be enriched by the experience." - Margaret Arden, The Psychotherapy Review

"… a book of clarity and poignancy… This is a very highly recommended book both because of the importance of Parsons's ideas, and because of his engaging and moving manner of telling a story." - Steven Cooper, JAPA, Vol 50 No 3, 2002

Table of Contents

Introduction. Part I: Rigour and Freedom. Vocation and Martial Art. The Other in the Self. Suddenly Finding it Really Matters. Refinding Theory in Clinical Practice. Psychoanalytic and Personal Identity: The Garden of Forking Paths. Part II: Loss, Acceptance, Creativity. Self-knowledge Refused and Accepted: Euripides' Bacchae and Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus. The Oedipus Complex as a Lifelong Developmental Process: Sophocles' Trachiniae. The Logic of Play. Creativity, Psychoanalytic and Artistic. Psychic Reality, Negation and the Analytic Setting. Conclusion. The Dove That Returns, The Dove That Vanishes. Index.

About the Author

Michael Parsons is a training analyst of the British Psycho-Analytical Society and a member of the International Psychoanalytical Association. He works in private practice in London.

About the Series

The New Library of Psychoanalysis

The New Library of Psychoanalysis is published by Routledge Mental Health in association with the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London.

Its purpose is to facilitate a greater and more widespread appreciation of psychoanalysis and to provide a forum for increasing mutual understanding between psychoanalysts and those in other disciplines. The series also aims to make some of the work of continental and other non-English speaking analysts more readily available to English-speaking readers, and to increase the interchange of ideas between British and American analysts.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis published its first book in 1987 under the editorship of David Tuckett, later followed by Elizabeth Bott Spillius, Susan Budd and Dana Birksted-Breen. A considerable number of Associate Editors and readers have assisted the editors.

Under the guidance of Foreign Rights Editors, a considerable number of the New Library books have been published abroad, particularly in Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Peru, Spain and Japan.

The aim of the New Library of Psychoanalysis is to maintain the high level of scholarship of the previous series, to provide a forum for increasing understanding between psychoanalysis and other disciplines and to increase the interest of the general book-reading public in psychoanalysis.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis also aims to help the various schools of psychoanalysis to better understand each other. It has published books representing all three schools of thought in British psychoanalysis, including a particularly important work edited by Pearl King and Riccardo Steiner, expounding the intellectual and organisational controversies that developed in the British psychoanalytical Society between Kleinian, Viennese and 'middle group' analysts during the Second World War.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis has also translated and published several books by Continental psychoanalysts, and it plans in the future to continue the policy of publishing books that express as clearly as possible a variety of psychoanalytic points of view.

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Subject Categories

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