1st Edition

The Psychoanalytic Vision
The Experiencing Subject, Transcendence, and the Therapeutic Process

ISBN 9780415519403
Published February 22, 2013 by Routledge
224 Pages

USD $54.95

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Book Description

Psychoanalytic therapy is distinguished by its immersion in the world of the experiencing subject. In The Psychoanalytic Vision, Frank Summers argues that analytic therapy and its unique epistemology is a worldview that stands in clear opposition to the hegemonic cultural value system of objectification, quantification, and materialism. The Psychoanalytic Vision situates psychoanalysis as a voice of the rebel, affirming the importance of the subjective in contrast to the culture of objectification. 

Founded on phenomenological philosophy from which it derives its unique epistemology and ethical grounding, psychoanalytic therapy as a hermeneutic of the experiential world has no role for reified concepts. Consequently, fundamental analytic concepts such as "the unconscious" and "the intrapsychic," are reconceptualized to eliminate reifying elements.

The essence of The Psychoanalytic Vision is the freshness of its theoretical and clinical approach as a hermeneutic of the experiential world. Fundamental clinical phenomena, such as dreams, time, and the experience of the other, are reformulated, and these theoretical shifts are illustrated with a variety of vivid case descriptions.

The last part of the book is devoted to the surreptitious role beliefs and values of contemporary culture play in many forms of psychopathology.

For clinicians, The Psychoanalytic Vision offers a fresh clinical theory based on the consistent application of the subjectification of human experience, and for scholars, a worldview that provides the framework for a potentially fruitful cross-fertilization of ideas with cognate disciplines.

Table of Contents

Part I: Theory. The Experiencing Subject. Psychoanalysis, the Tyranny of Objectivism,and the Rebellion of the Subjective.The Emerging Psychoanalytic Ethic. Part II: Clinical. The Romantic Interpretation of Psychoanalysis. Unconscious Psychic Acts and the Creation of Meaning. To Live in a Dream.The Transcendental Experience of the Other. Temporality and Futurity in the Analytic Process. Part III: Culture and Therapy. The Experiencing Subject in a Numbers Culture . Searching for the Self in a World of Technology. Creating a Life Between Cultures. Conclusion: The Psychoanalytic Vision

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Frank Summers is a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University and a training and supervising analyst at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. Author of three previous books and numerous articles, he is currently President of the Division of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association. He maintains a private practice of psychoanalytic therapy and psychoanalysis in Chicago, Illinois.


"Frank Summers is one of the most brilliant, forward-edge psychoanalytic theorists writing today. The Psychoanalytic Vision offers a profound re-visioning of both the psychoanalytic process and the modern experiencing subject. A must-read not only for practitioners but also cultural theorists and anyone seeking to probe the depths of human experience." - John Riker, Professor of Philosophy at Colorado College

"This book is a deeply human and impassioned plea for a vision of psychoanalysis rooted in the subjective. Frank Summers eloquently addresses the implications of his vision for both theory and technique, locating his ideas in a critique of contemporary culture that is richly illustrated in his clinical vignettes. Summers' is a compelling and inspiring contemporary voice." - Joyce Slochower, Faculty, New York University Postdoctoral Program

"Combining an open mind with clinical and scholarly rigor, Summers’ new work is a major contribution to thinking about and working with psychoanalysis as a science of subjectivity. This study investigates the uniqueness of the psychoanalytic worldview with an elegant simplicity that is perceptive and lively. Summer’s moves with ease from the clinical observations to comparative psychoanalysis to cultural history. His vision places human subjectivity at the center of the human existence and situates psychoanalysis as rebellious opposition to the dominant Anglo American culture of objectivity and technology. Summers has a gift for lucid analysis of the humanistic in contemporary psychoanalysis." - Spyros D. Orfanos, Ph.D., ABPP, Clinic Director, NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis

"It is no secret that at this point in time psychoanalysis is often written off as passé. Frank Summers’ THE PSYCHOANALYTIC VISION offers a powerful set of arguments for the relevance of psychoanalysis, both as therapy and a means to understand contemporary American culture. Summers is a critic of scientistic tendencies in psychoanalysis, and he mounts a formidable and new defense of psychoanalysis as an hermeneutic enterprise. Integrating object relations, self-psychology, and relational thinking with philosophy, Summers embraces open-mindedness and the abiding splendor of subjective experience."- Elliot L. Jurist, Ph.D., Ph.D., Director of Clinical Training, Clinical Psychology at The City College of New York; Professor of Psychology and Philosophy, The Graduate Center of The City University of New York; and Editor of Psychoanalytic Psychology

"This book fulfills the ambitious promise of his title. Rooted in his appreciative but critical command of the various analytic orientations, Summers moves fluidly through epistemology and ethics, intellectual history and principled politics. As all of this is applied to the everyday realities of the consulting room, he offers a deep and enriching vision of analysis as a hermeneutic, humanistic practice to restore individual vitality and resist the emerging sociocultural threats to the authenticity of "the "experiencing subject." – Stephen Seligman, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco; Joint Editor-in-Chief, Psychoanalytic Dialogues: International Journal of Relational Perspectives; Training and Supervising Analyst, Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California & San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis