Failure is a theme of great importance in most clinical conditions, and in everyday life, from birth until death. Its impact can be destabilizing, even disastrous. In spite of these facts, there has been no comprehensive psychoanalytic exploration of this topic. Understanding and Coping with Failure: Psychoanalytic Perspectives fills this gap by examining failure from many perspectives. It goes a long way toward increasing understanding of the numerous issues involved, and provides many valuable insights into ways of coping with these challenging experiences and several chapters discuss positive aspects of failure - what can be learned from what would otherwise simply be regrettable experiences.
Brent Willock, Rebecca Coleman Curtis and Lori C. Bohm bring together a rich diversity of topics explored in thoughtful ways by an international group of authors from the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States of America. Failed therapies (which have been examined in the literature) are but one element freshly explored in this comprehensive exploration of the topic. The book is divided into sections covering the following topics: Failing and Forgiving; Society-Wide Failure; Failure in the Family; Therapeutic Failure; Professional Failure in the Consulting Room and on the Career Path; Integrity versus Despair: Facing Failure in the Final Phase of the Life Cycle; Metaphoric Bridges and Creativity; The Long Shadow of Childhood Relational Trauma.
Understanding and Coping with Failure will be eagerly welcomed by all those trying to increase their awareness, understanding, and capacity to work with the many ramifications of this important issue. Because of the uniqueness of this broad, detailed exploration of the complexities of the failure experience, it will be essential reading for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, and students in these disciplines. It will also appeal to a wider audience interested in the psychoanalytic perspective.
Table of Contents
Coleman Curtis, Frank, Introduction. Part I: Failing and Forgiving. Holloway, Fail Better. Loszak, Failing with Grace—How a Golden Thread of Forgiveness Runs Through Psychoanalysis. Part II: Society-Wide Failure. Benton, Success and Failure: Cultural and Psychoanalytic Perspectives. Allured, Blind Spot in the Analytic Lens: Our Failure to Address Environmental Uncertainty. Borg, Failing Better: Working Through Chronic System/Personal/Treatment Failures in Psychoanalysis. Part III: Failure in the Family. Hyman, Whose Report Card is it Anyway? Helping Parents Move from Empathic Failure to Empathic Attunement . Ludlam, Failure in Couple Relationships—and in Couple Psychotherapy. Mendelsohn, Clutching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory: Failure, Self-Destruction, and the Icarus Myth. Seiden, You Can’t Go Home Again. Part IV:Therapeutic Failure. Simha-Alpern, Dora and the Bathwater: Shame and Psychoanalytic Failure; A Relational Perspective. Hewitt, Thinking Through Therapeutic Failure with a Suicidal Patient. Part V: Professional Failure in the Consulting Room and on the Career Path. Clark,Whatever Happened?.....A Clinical Evaluation of the Relationship between Humpty Dumpty and the Wall. Bergman, Success Through Failure. Sloane, Reflections on the Failure to Become a Training Analyst. O’Leary, The Blame Game: Accounting for the Role of Happenstance in Failure. Part VI: Integrity vs. Despair: Facing Failure in the Final Phase of the Life Cycle. Stern, The Challenge of Obsolescence. White, Flax, Failure of the Body: Perseverance of the Spirit. Langan, Brief Candle. Part VII: Metaphoric Bridges and Creativity. Baranowski, Otto Rank’s Notion of the Neurotic as the Artiste Manqué. McIntosh, Standing Tall: Bodily Metaphors in a Case of Self-defeating Personal Failure. Sapountzis, The Failure to Understand as a Transitional. Part VIII:The Long Shadow of Childhood Relational Trauma. Levene, The Big Hit: How Adult Illness can Recapitulate Childhood Trauma and Fear of Failure. Willock, The Man who Mistook his Daughter for his Ex-wife. Part IX: Reflections and Final Words. Bohm, Failure as a Spur to Growth. Willock, Failure’s Pervasive Presence.
Brent Willock is President of the Toronto Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Board Member of the Canadian Institute for Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and on the faculty of the Institute for the Advancement of Self Psychology. He is the editor with Lori C. Bohm and Rebecca Coleman Curtis of Comparative-Integrative Psychoanalysis (Analytic Press, 2007), On Deaths and Endings: Psychoanalysts’ reflections on finality, transformations and new beginnings (Routledge, 2007) and Loneliness and Longing: Conscious and unconscious aspects (Routledge, 2011).
Rebecca Coleman Curtis is Professor of Psychology at Adelphi University, and Faculty and Supervisor at the William Alanson White Institute and Supervisor at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies, New York.
Lori C. Bohm is Supervising Analyst, Faculty and Director at the Center for Applied Psychoanalysis and Intensive Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy programs at the William Alanson White Institute. She is Psychotherapy Supervisor in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at City College of the City University of New York.
"This is a unique book that I would thoroughly recommend to all readers to stimulate further thought in and around the issues it covers. Although it is written from a psychoanalytic perspective the text is refreshingly free from theorising and there is very little in its content that would exclude practitioners without psychoanalytic knowledge." Dr Ann Bowes, psychoanalytic psychotherapist, for Therapy Today
"At long last, failure is receiving its psychoanalytic due. This thoughtful, ground breaking compendium approaches failure, not as a deficit, but as an integral aspect of living, and as a necessary experiential component of human experience. This highly recommended book will influence the way that psychotherapy and its expectations are perceived and practiced." - Edgar A. Levenson, M.D., Training & Supervising Analyst, W.A. White Institute, 2006 recipient of the Mary S. Sigourney Award for distinguished contributions to the field of psychoanalysis.