Comparative-Integrative Psychoanalysis

A Relational Perspective for the Discipline's Second Century

By Brent Willock

© 2007 – Routledge

256 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9781138005914
pub: 2014-06-09
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780881634600
pub: 2007-06-20
US Dollars$65.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Finalist for the 2007 Goethe Award for Psychoanalytic Scholarship!

This exceptionally practical and insightful new text explores the emerging field of comparative-integrative psychoanalysis. It provides an invaluable framework for approaching the currently fractious state of the psychoanalytic discipline, divided as it is into diverse schools of thought, presenting many conceptual challenges. Moving beyond the usual borders of psychoanalysis, Willock usefully draws on insights from neighboring disciplines to shed additional light on the core issue.

Comparative-Integrative Psychoanalysis is divided into two sections for organizational clarity. Part I is an intriguing investigation into the nature of thought and its intrinsic problems. It convincingly builds a case for the need, after a century of disciplinary development, to move beyond delineated schools, and proposes a method for achieving this goal. The succeeding section elaborates this desideratum in detail, exploring its implications with respect to theory, organizations, practice, and pedagogy. This second portion of the volume is most applicable to everyday concerns with improving work in the field, be it in the consulting room, classroom, or in and between various psychoanalytic organizations.


"The challenge we face as psychoanalytic educators is how to foster conviction without stultifying conformity and encourage creativity in our candidates. [Dr. Willock's] answer is the comparative-integrative approach. His book convincingly presents the theoretical, philosophical, and clinical foundations for this approach. An added bonus is his first hand account of how he presents this approach in his classroom. The challenge for our discipline is the same – how to preserve what we have learned and to continue to break new ground. I have Dr. Willock’s book and I am sure it will have the wide and interested audience that it deserves."

- Arnold Richards, M.D., Training and Supervising Analyst, New York Psychoanalytic Institute, USA

"Brent Willock has written something totally unique in our field: Imagine a book that grapples seriously with how to train 21st century analysts in the context of the most vital theoretical and clinical issues that we all live and breathe each day. Imagine an effort of the magnitude brought off without leaving playfulness and humor behind. Imagine, too, an author who clearly understands and addresses what lies at the deeper philosophical fault line beneath the surface tensions and cliches around classical and relational paradigms. Once experienced analysts and candidates read his engaging book, Willock will get invitations to dialogue with any Institute that wants a fresh, bracing look at its working assumptions and training controversies - a dialogue that promises to open our students, our patients, and ourselves to change."

- Malcolm Owen Slavin, Ph.D., Faculty and Supervising Analyst, Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis

Table of Contents

Part I: Innovations and Tradition in the Evolution of Psychoanalytic Thought. Revelations from a Triptych of Dreams. Toward Integrative Understanding. Mangy Mongrels or Marvelous Mutts? The Question of Mixed Models. Part II: The Comparative Integrative Point of View. Implications for Psychoanalytic Theory (and Organizations). Significance for Psychoanalytic Practice. Implications for Psychoanalytic Education. The Class Struggle. The Comparative Integrative Spirit. Last Words.

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