Preliminary Reviews

“In this stunning volume of eloquent contributions by senior psychoanalysts, Steven Kuchuck provides a space for the timely exploration of how our personal life events inevitably saturate the uniquely personal therapeutic ethos we each struggle to develop. His prose are fresh and engaging, the choice of contributors is wise, and the papers themselves are, at times, nothing short of inspiring. This is a book brimming over with the personal insights of those who have spent a lifetime writing about others. It has been a long time coming, and its arrival is most welcome!”Jody Messler Davies, Ph.D, Clinical Professor of Psychology of the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis.

“Perhaps psychoanalysts are finally ready to admit their need to know what actually goes on in other analysts’ minds as they work through their own painful pasts and live through their own tragedies and conflicts. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know how others reflect on these struggles and integrate them with their clinical work? Fortunately Steven Kuchuck has produced this book, and assembled a set of such reflections from a diverse and thoughtful group of analysts. The result is immensely stimulating and often profound, an aid to all of us who have imagined a more complex role for analytic subjectivity, a more compassionate and honest version of the practice to which we are dedicated.”- Jessica Benjamin, Ph.D. author, The Bonds of Love (Pantheon Books,1988), Like Subjects, Love Objects (Yale University Press,1995), Shadow of the Other (Routledge, 1998), Clinical Professor of Psychology of the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis.

“Steven Kuchuck has brought together a group of authors who courageously, authentically and skillfully turn their reflective lens on significant personal developmental and life events that have contributed to the shaping of their subjectivities, selection and development of theories, clinical choices and ways of “being” within the psychoanalytic arena. This volume is a captivating, edifying, emotionally touching read for all levels of psychoanalysts and psychotherapists.” James L. Fosshage, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Psychology at New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, Co-founder, Board Director and Faculty member of the National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NYC); Founding Member, Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity (NYC).

“In one of the most gripping stories in this book, Anna Ornstein notes, “The practice of reserving something of oneself from the clutches of an institution…is not an incidental mechanism of defense but rather an essential constituent of the self.” Many of the compelling stories in Kuchuck’s extraordinary collection illustrate our struggle as individuals, and as a field, to affirm ourselves in the face of something deeply institutionalized in psychoanalytic culture: Hiding the analyst’s complex, multiple subjectivity behind sometimes legitimate, but often highly questionable, assumptions about protection, privacy, and effective analytic process. Though psychoanalysis is easiest to critique in its classical, conservative guise, the book’s subtle stories reveal how psychoanalytic culture—even in contemporary, relational and self-psychological forms—often ritualizes and sanctifies the exposure of the patient, and the hiding of the analyst.” – Malcolm Owen Slavin, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis.

“In this unforgettable book, Steven Kuchuck brings us personal stories by therapists about experiences that shaped their subjectivity and professional development. The authors are senior clinicians and theoreticians; all adept at thinking and writing about the inner and outer worlds and the spaces between. I couldn’t put this book down.” – Linda Hopkins, Ph.D., Author of False Self: The Life of Masud Khan, winner of the 2007 Gradiva and 2006 Goethe Awards (Other Press, 2008).

It should be obvious that a two-person point of view genuinely implies that there are two persons in the room, each with a complicated life history that contributes to shaping what transpires in the session. Yet all too often, the two-person viewpoint remains rarified, a theoretical position but not a personal one. This book provides an important corrective to this tendency. The contributors include a number of the most prominent writers in our field, as well as some talented younger writers, and all provide an admirably personal and reflective perspective on therapeutic practice. This is a genuinely valuable contribution, one that will richly reward the reader and provide both inspiration and insight.
Paul L. Wachtel, Ph.D.
CUNY Distinguished Professor, City College and CUNY Graduate Center