The Therapeutic Situation in the 21st Century
By Mark Leffert
Routledge – 2013 – 292 pages
Extending the themes of Contemporary Psychoanalytic Foundations, The Therapeutic Situation in the 21st Century is a systematic reformulation of fundamental psychoanalytic concepts, such as transference, therapeutic action, and the uses of psychotropic drugs, in the light of recent developments in postmodernism, complexity theory, and neuroscience. Leffert offers formulations of areas not previously considered in any depth by psychoanalysts, such as power relations in the analytic couple, social matrix theory, and narrative theory informed by considerations of archaeology, genealogy, complexity, memory, and recall. He also considers new areas, such as the role of uncertainty and love in the therapeutic situation. This book is part of an ongoing effort to place psychoanalysis in the current century, and looks to outside as well as inside areas of thought to inform how we work and how we think about our work.
"Mark Leffert brilliantly and engagingly explores the crucial roles of power and relationship in this significant contribution to understanding the challenges facing psychoanalysis to be relevant in the 21st century. Utilizing insights derived from postmodernism and neuroscience that build upon his deep, critical, and scholarly knowledge of Freud, Leffert forges a new understanding of how cultural, social, and institutional narratives shape therapeutic discourse." - Douglas Kirsner, Ph.D., Personal Chair, Philosophy and Psychoanalytic Studies, Deakin University
"Leffert's theme is uncertainty. He confronts us with the fact that honest clinicians can only grasp at a fraction of what goes on in the clinic, and rely on inadequate heuristics. But—and this is the book's delightful twist—this uncertainty is the postmodern condition: If we think we know, we are misguided; knowing not, we are on the path to wisdom. All this Leffert lays out with originality, grace, and astonishly wide scholarship, ranging from cultural studies to neuroscience, underpinned throughout with deep clinical experience. His book points the way to psychoanalysis' long-awaited paradigm shift, and, tackling the big themes of love, power, and care, offers a rich mix for all allocentric (outward-looking) clinicians to enjoy and ponder." - Jeremy Holmes, MD, FRCPsych, Professor of Psychological Therapies, University of Exeter
Power Relations in the Office. Archaeology, Genealogy, and Memory. Love (the Analyst's) in the Office. The Self, the Self-Representation, the Psychical Self, and their Social Network. Reading (or Not Reading) Freud in the 21st Century. Some Particular Issues Concerning Therapeutic Action. A View from the Edge.
Mark Leffert, M.D., has been on the faculty of five psychoanalytic institutes and has been a Training and Supervising Analyst at four of them, including the New Center for Psychoanalysis, where he is also Chair of the NCP’s Training Analyst Section Committee. The author of Contemporary Psychoanalytic Foundations: Postmodernism, Complexity, and Neuroscience (Routledge, 2010), he has a private practice in Santa Barbara.