With Culture in Mind: Psychoanalytic Stories, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

With Culture in Mind

Psychoanalytic Stories, 1st Edition

Edited by Muriel Dimen


216 pages

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pub: 2011-04-12
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This is a new kind of anthology. More conversation than collection, it locates the psychic and the social in clinical moments illuminating the analyst's struggle to grasp a patient's internal life as voiced through individual political, social, and material contexts. Each chapter is a single detailed case vignette in which aspects of race, gender, sexual orientation, heritage, ethnicity, class – elements of the sociopolitical matrix of culture – are brought to the fore in the transference-countertransference dimension, demonstrating how they affect the analytic encounter. Additionally, discussions by three senior analysts further deconstruct patients' and analysts' cultural embeddedness as illustrated in each chapter. For the practicing clinician as well as the seasoned academic, this highly readable and intellectually compelling book clearly demonstrates that culture saturates subjective experience – something that all mental health professionals should keep in mind.


"This volume breaks new ground. It introduces six brilliant young psychoanalytic writers, who have grown up with both psychoanalysis and critical social theory 'in their bones.' From this perspective, they are able to take up the longstanding problem of integrating a social perspective into psychoanalytic clinical work at the most fundamental level: they organize their treatments around the core concepts of the critical social theories of Foucault, Althusser, Butler, and others who map the ways that culture expropriates individuals, integrating them with contemporary intersubjectivist analysis. Further, they reveal themselves in the same complex psychosocial fields, with a full view of how they too, as analysts, are implicated in the very same processes. Thus, the social dimensions of their analyses are not tacked on, but essential, and the vivid possibilities of this radical reorientation are not only suggested, but often realized. This is a rare achievement." - Stephen Seligman, Infant-Parent Program, UCSF, California, USA

"This is an extraordinary collection. In just a few pages of clinical case material, each author remarkably manages to shatter any illusions one might hold that the psychic and the social are separable. The writing is powerful and each vignette movingly explores the complex psychosocial interdependence of patient and therapist. Seamlessly blending high theory with experience-near clinical encounters, this book is a major contribution to a non-normative psychoanalysis." - Lynne Layton, Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society

Table of Contents

Dimen, Introduction. Part I: The Social Third. Sheehy, Melissa: Lost in a Fog, or "How Difficult is This MOMMY Stuff, Anyway?" Hartman, Darren and Stephen: Erotic Interludes in Political Transference. Lobban, Li-An: Wounded by War. Pugachevsky, Mariana: An MS Patient in My Office. Rozmarin, Dori: "O Thou Seer, Go, Flee Thee." Guralnik, Ede: Race, the Law, and I. Benjamin, Facing Reality Together: Discussion of "The Social Third." Part II: Interpellations. Guralnik, Raven: Travels in Reality. Hartman, Darren with Dominic: From the Social to the Psychic. Lobban, Glenys: White or Not. Rozmarin, David and Jonathan: The Hostility of Discourse. Pugachevsky, Amy: The Intersection of Body and History. Sheehy, Anonymous: Floaters. Orbach, Bringing History to Mind: Discussion of "Interpellations." Part III: Subjective Experience, Collective Narratives. Guralnik, Interpellating Grace. Hartman, Darren then Harvey: The Incest Taboo Reconsidered: The Collective Unconscious Reprised. Rozmarin, Asaf: I Am Yourself. Saketopoulou, DeShawn: Beyond the Color-blindness in Gender. Pugachevsky, Lynn, Ben, Lucy: Forbidden to Be. Lobban, Martha: Resignification Road. Samuels, Letters to the Authors: Discussion of "Subjective Experience, Collective Narratives."

About the Editor

Muriel Dimen, PhD, is Adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychology, New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, and Professor Emerita, Anthropology, Lehman College (CUNY). On the faculties of many institutes, she is Editor of Studies in Gender and Sexuality, associate editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, and a founding board member and former Treasurer of the International Association for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. Her most recent book, Sexuality, Intimacy, Power, received the Goethe Award from the Canadian Psychological Association for the Best Book of Psychoanalytic Scholarship published in 2003. She has also written Surviving Sexual Contradictions (1986) and The Anthropological Imagination (1977). Her co-edited books are Gender in Psychoanalytic Space: Between Clinic and Culture with Virginia Goldner (2002), Storms in Her Head: New Clinical and Theoretical Perspectives on Breuer and Freud’s Studies on Hysteria with Adrienne Harris (2001), and Regional Variation in Modern Greece and Cyprus: Toward an Ethnography of Greece with Ernestine Friedl (1976). A Fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU, she practices in Manhattan and supervises nationally.

About the Series

Relational Perspectives Book Series

The Relational Perspectives Book Series (RPBS) publishes books that grow out of or contribute to the relational tradition in contemporary psychoanalysis. The term relational psychoanalysis was first used by Greenberg and Mitchell (1983) to bridge the traditions of interpersonal relations, as developed within interpersonal psychoanalysis and object relations, as developed within contemporary British theory. But, under the seminal work of the late Stephen Mitchell, the term relational psychoanalysis grew and began to accrue to itself many other influences and developments. Various tributaries—interpersonal psychoanalysis, object relations theory, self psychology, empirical infancy research, and elements of contemporary Freudian and Kleinian thought—flow into this tradition, which understands relational configurations between self and others, both real and fantasied, as the primary subject of psychoanalytic investigation.  

We refer to the relational tradition, rather than to a relational school, to highlight that we are identifying a trend, a tendency within contemporary psychoanalysis, not a more formally organized or coherent school or system of beliefs. Our use of the term relational signifies a dimension of theory and practice that has become salient across the wide spectrum of contemporary psychoanalysis. Now under the editorial supervision of Lewis Aron and Adrienne Harris with the assistance of Associate Editors Steven Kuchuck and Eyal Rozmarin, the Relational Perspectives Book Series originated in 1990 under the editorial eye of the late Stephen A. Mitchell. Mitchell was the most prolific and influential of the originators of the relational tradition. He was committed to dialogue among psychoanalysts and he abhorred the authoritarianism that dictated adherence to a rigid set of beliefs or technical restrictions. He championed open discussion, comparative and integrative approaches, and he promoted new voices across the generations.  

Included in the Relational Perspectives Book Series are authors and works that come from within the relational tradition, extend and develop the tradition, as well as works that critique relational approaches or compare and contrast it with alternative points of view. The series includes our most distinguished senior psychoanalysts along with younger contributors who bring fresh vision.

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Subject Categories

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