1st Edition

The Search for a Relational Home
An intersubjective view of therapeutic action

ISBN 9781138797000
Published October 13, 2014 by Routledge
114 Pages

USD $46.95

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Book Description

In The Search for a Relational Home, Chris Jaenicke gives the reader an inside view of what actually happens in psychotherapy and how change occurs. He describes how both participants – the patient and the therapist – feel, and how they affect each other. The reader is encouraged to vicariously partake in the process from the perspective of his or her own life experiences.

The book describes the nature of therapeutic action through a radicalized version of intersubjective systems theory. It demonstrates how psychotherapy is an outcome of a highly personal encounter between two unique human beings, and how, while the goal of psychoanalysis is to help the patient, this can only be achieved inasmuch as both participants are willing to undergo transformation. Jaenicke clarifies how both successes and failures as well as personal strengths and weaknesses play a constitutive part in the psychotherapeutic process. The Search for a Relational Home also provides theoretical and practical guidelines for supervision.

Jaenicke presents here a unique approach to the process of psychotherapy which will be vital reading for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and those in training as well as students in all fields of mental health.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments. Basic Premises: Thoughts on Success, Failure and Cure in Psychoanalysis. Rafaela: A Case Description. Ending Treatment: Rafaela Redux. The Shadow Man: A Case Description. Supervision from an Intersubjective Perspective. Epilogue. References. Index.

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Chris Jaenicke is a faculty member and training and supervising analyst at the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Psychoanalyse und Psychotherapie, e.V. Berlin. He is in private practice in Berlin, Germany, and is the author of several previous books, including Change in Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2011).


"The author presents two in-depth case studies of ‘Rafaela’ and ‘The Shadow Man’. He expresses himself in an emotional and frank manner and his own experience with these particular clients parallel his personal internal crisis. The language is reader friendly, although at times the psychoanalytic jargon could potentially risk alienating readers from a different therapeutic background. The author’s genuine fascination with his clients, and his honesty and courage to present a radical version of intersubjective systems theory, however, allows for a very interesting read."Sandra Zecevic-Gonzalez, Private Practice

"At the heart of the intersubjective model lies a radical and challenging reworking of the concept of transference. This is Chris Jaenicke’s final book in a trilogy. Here he powerfully describes through two of his own case studies his basic assumption that analysts ‘influence each therapeutic process with every fibre of (their) personalities’ and ‘any therapist’s difficulties as a human being may be bought forth as a matter of course by entering the realms of emotional distress and destruction of their patients’ (p89)…paralleling of his own internal world crises with two of his patients is movingly and powerfully documented…This is a humane and challenging book that shifts the psychoanalytic paradigm." Gillian Ingram in Therapy Today'

"The Search for a Relational Home: An Intersubjective View of Therapeutic Action is a book aimed at showing how an understanding of the patient-analyst dyad as a complex dynamic system deepens our grasp of the therapeutic process and therapeutic change. What is unique about the book is its emphasis on the critical importance of failure, both the patient’s and analyst’s, in furthering the therapeutic process. In his inimitable evocative and reader-friendly language, and with characteristic openness about his own emotional experiences, Jaenicke shows how the strengths and weaknesses, limitations, and sufferings of both participants become entangled and worked through. Punctuated with rich clinical illustrations, the book offers much wisdom to seasoned practitioners and trainees alike."Robert D. Stolorow, PhD, author, World, Affectivity, Trauma: Heidegger and Post-Cartesian Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2011).

‘Chris Jaenicke’s The Search for a Relational Home is the third volume of his wonderful trilogy, devoted to an intersubjective view of the psychotherapeutic process. This excellent book, like its predecessors, is written in an informal, engaging style, and yet it deals with such profound and complex issues as the nature of cure and failure (offering an experiential redefinition of these concepts), the inevitable role of the analyst’s personal subjectivity in every therapeutic process, and the "best kept secret" of our field – that psychotherapy transforms not only the patient but also the therapist. I consider Chris’s work to be an outstanding contribution to the most progressive developments that are occurring in contemporary psychoanalysis.’ – George E. Atwood, PhD, Professor of Clinical Psychology (Emeritus), Rutgers University, USA 

'In this brief but intense book Christ Jaenicke introduces the reader to a radical intersubjective perspective that in itself represents an extreme version of the relational intersubjective approach to psychoanalytic therapy. His approach is deeply personal and insistent on the centrality of the analys's subjective mental and emotional state in determining what emerges when two independent subjectivities, that of the therapist and the patient, co-mingle and influence each other... What is special about his writing about these cases is his detailed account of how his own subjectivity enters into the treatment, sometimes for better but often for worse as well... Jaenicke's version of intersubjectivity invites the clinician reader to follow him into a world of critical self-examination; the therapist is direced to finding within himself the causal factor in the impasse or failure of any psychoanalytic treatment... There can be little doubt that Jaenicke is amsterful in describing his subjectivity with all of its angst. He is bravely and expressively self revealing" – Henry J. Friendman, MD, American Journal of Psychoanalysis

'The Search for a Realtional Home... gives the reader an inside view of what actually happens in the consulting room and how change occurs--not only for the client but also for the therapist... [Chris Jaenicke] expresses himself in an emotional and frank manner and his own experiences with [his clients] parallel his personal internal crisis... The author's genuine fascination with his clients, and his honesty and courage to present a radical version of intersubjective systems theory... allows for a very interesting read... [a] highly stimulating resource for the library of an experienced and/or beginning therapist who mainly works relationally and in-depth with clients." – Sandra Zecevic-Gonzalez, counselling psychologist and CBT therapist, private practice, London, Private Practice

"It is a “must read book” for all psychotherapistsand psychotherapists in training."   Gülcan Sutton Purser, Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis