Seduction, Surrender, and Transformation

Emotional Engagement in the Analytic Process

By Karen J. Maroda

© 2002 – Routledge

216 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780881633979
pub: 2002-12-01
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About the Book

Seduction, Surrender, and Transformation demonstrates how interpersonal psychoanalysis obliges analysts to engage their patients with genuine emotional responsiveness, so that not only the patient but the analyst too is open to ongoing transformation through the analytic experience. In so doing, the analyst moves from the position of an "interpreting observer" to that of an "active participant and facilitator" whose affective communications enable the patient to acquire basic self-trust along with self-knowledge.

Drawing on the current literature on affect, Maroda argues that psychological change occurs through affect-laden interpersonal processes. Given that most patients in psychotherapy have problems with affect management, the completing of cycles of affective communication between therapist and patient becomes a vitally important aspect of the therapeutic enterprise. Through emotionally open responses to their patients and careful use of patient-prompted self-disclosures, analysts can facilitate affect regulation responsibly and constructively, with the emphasis always remaining on the patients' experience.

Moments of mutual surrender - the honest emotional giving over of patient to analyst and analyst to patient - epitomize the emotionally intense interpersonal experiences that lead to enduring intrapsychic change. Maroda's work is profoundly personal. She does not hesitate to share with the reader how her own personality affects her thinking and her work. Indeed, she believes her theoretical and clinical preferences are emblematic of the way in which the analyst's subjectivity necessarily shapes theory choice and practice preferences in general. Seduction, Surrender, and Transfomation is not only a powerful brief for emotional honesty in the analytic relationship but also a model of the personal openness that, according to Maroda, psychoanalysis demands of all its practitioners.


"Seduction, Surrender, and Transformation provides the best in-depth comparison of one-person and two-person psychologies and the single best presentation of the technical interventions necessary to effect the emotional engagement at the heart of the two-person model that I know. While respectful of classical analysis, Maroda is persuasive in her insistence that therapeutic change depends on the emotional experience of analysis, which dictates 'mutative interventions' in place of 'mutative interpretations.' Of special note are her delineation of 'responsible techniques' for facilitating the patient's affective experience and her very shrewd analysis of the changing conceptions of power and authority within the analytic dyad."

- Ethel Spector Person, M.D., author, By Force of Fantasy: How We Make Our Lives

"Karen Maroda's book represents a significant advance in the clinical application of an intersubjective, or two-person, psychology. In line with much contemporary theory, she moves us toward a thoroughly interactive analytic process that incorporates a fuller understanding of the multifaceted role of affects. And she offers practical clinical insights into the way critical transference and countertransference issues can be transformed from potential destroyers to essential psychotherapeutic tools. Whether or not one is prepared to try all innovations, one welcomes Seduction, Surrender, and Transformation for posing challenges we cannot afford to ignore."

- Henry Krystal, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Michigan State University

"Karen Maroda's outstanding book will have repercussions in the psychoanalytic world for years to come. Its title gives only a faint hint of the courageous, challenging, and controversial scope of the work, which is a passionate plea for emotional honesty in the therapeutic encounter. While the need for emotional intensity and honesty is the recurring motif of the book - the sine qua non of what makes for change - there is no trace of excess. Maroda's many compelling clinical illustrations make it clear that her approach to psychoanalytic theory and therapy is carefully thought out. Over and again, reading Seduction, Surrender, and Transformation made me rethink all manner of stances in which I have found myself in the therapeutic situation. Maroda's is a voice to be heard; listen carefeully to the wisdom that unfolds."

- Emmanuel Ghent, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychology, NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis

Table of Contents


1. On Seduction, Intellectualization, and the Bad Mother: Underlying Assumptions of the Analytic Process

2. On the Analyst's Fear of Surrender: Can Sex Be Far Behind?

3. Show Some Emotion: Completing the Cycle of Affective Communication

4. Why Self-Disclosure Works in Spite of the Analyst's Imperfections.

5. Since Feeling is First: Projective Identification and Countertransference Interventions.

6. Enactment: When the Patient's and Analyst's Pasts Converge

7. Therapeutic Necessity or Malpractice: Physical Contact Reconsidered

8. Reflections on the Analyst's Legitimate Power and the Existence of Reality Conclusion

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 / Applied Psychology
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / General