Work and the Evolving Self
Theoretical and Clinical Considerations
In Work and the Evolving Self, Steven Axelrod begins to remedy this serious oversight by setting forth a comprehensive psychoanalytic perspective on work life. Consonant with his analytic perspective, Axelrod sets out to illuminate the workplace by examining the psychodynamic meaning of work throughout the life cycle. He begins by exploring the various dimensions of work satisfaction from a psychoanalytic perspective and then expands on the relationship between work life and the adult developmental process. This developmental perspective frames Axelrod's central task: an examination of the typical work-related problems encountered in clinical practice, beginning with a psychodynamic definition of a "work disturbance." Moving on to treatment issues, Axelrod elaborates on the manner in which assessment, supportive, and exploratory interventions all enter into the treatment of work disturbances. Axelrod concludes by considering issues of career development that emerge in individual psychotherapy and exploring the psychological implications of dramatic changes now taking place in the workplace. As such, Work and the Evolving Self is an impressive contribution to the task with which psychoanalytic therapists are increasingly engaged: that of broadening their identities and treatment approaches in a world that increasingly demands flexibility and innovation.
Table of Contents
Work and Its Satisfactions. Work and Adult Development. The Concept of Work Disturbance. Work Inhibition and Work Compulsion. Work Diffusion. Work Disillusionment and Disability. Work and the Treatment Process. Career Development in Individual Treatment. The Psychology of a Changing Workplace.
"Long preoccupied with the vicissitudes of love, psychoanalysts concomitantly ignored the vicissitudes of work, perhaps because most work, routine and controlled in nature, allowed little freedom for emotional expression. With the ongoing transformation of the workplace, including the increasingly flexible situation of knowledge" workers, new vistas of clinical intervention have opened up. Steven Axelrod's ground-breaking book shows psychoanalytically oriented therapists how, by expanding their therapeutic purview to issues of work and working, they can deepen their insights and increase their effectiveness."
- Harry Levinson, Ph.D., Chairman, The Levinson, Institute
"Dr. Axelrod has made a superb contribution to a seriously neglected area of psychoanalytic inquiry. The mixture of theory and clinical examples and the focus on work in the treatment process make this an outstanding and highly practical book that should be in the library of every mental health professional."
- Calvin A. Colarusso, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, UC San Diego
"Dr. Axelrod has chosen to focus on one of the two areas of functioning Freud considered the criteria of mental health: love and work. While many writers have considered the first and written extensively on the ways in which it is problematic, very few have considered the second. Work inhibition and the opportunities for sublimation, social connection and object finding offered by the workplace have now been given their due. This book could open up a whole new way of thinking about psychotherapeutic goals, ideals and strategies. I highly recommend it."
- Arlene Kramer Richards, Ed.D., Training and Supervising Analyst, New York Freudian Society