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It has become almost de rigueur in contemporary psychoanalysis to cite Freud's positivism-especially his commitment to an objective reality that can be accessed through memory and interpretation-as a continuing source of weakness in bringing the field into the postmodern era. But is it so simple to move beyond Freud and objectivism in general? Or is it the case that even the most astute recent theorizing aimed at this move-and guided by therapeutic sensitivity and a concern with epistemic rigor-still betrays a lingering commitment to objective reality?
This is the intellectually exciting and exacting question that Richard Moore poses to his reader-and to the texts of four of the most influential psychoanalytic theorists on the scene today: Donald Spence, Roy Schafer, Robert Stolorow, and Irwin Z. Hoffman. Written with concentration and grace, The Creation of Reality in Psychoanalysis begins with the ambiguities in Freud's founding commitment to a recoverable, objectively verifiable reality before examining the ghost of objectivism that confounds, in surprising and unexpected ways, Spence's, Schafer's, Stolorow's, and Hoffman's recent attempts to move toward narrativist and constructivist views of the analytic encounter.
Following his penetrating survey of the contributions of these four major architects of contemporary psychoanalysis, Moore provides a glimpse of what an internally consistent postmodern metapsychology would actually look like. He approaches this task by exploring how our understanding of basic analytic concepts may ultimately be reconciled with the view that the creation of reality is an intrinsic aspect of any therapeutic encounter. Elegantly conceived and beautifully argued, this book guides the reader through the labyrinth of contemporary theory while holding fast to a critical stance toward its overarching goal: the elaboration of a truly thoroughgoing constructivism that is both therapeutically consequential and intellectually defensible.
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Richard Moore, Ph.D., a member of the Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology, is on the faculty of The Psychotherapy Institute of Berkeley, California. He is in private practice in the San Francisco Bay area.Review:
"'Who is Richard Moore,' I found myself wondering during my increasingly enthusiastic reading of this masterful book, 'and why haven't I come across his work already?' The answer, it turns out, is that the most clear, insightful, and clinically relevant account of the constructivist tributary flowing into psychoanalysis during the last two decades is Moore's first publication-all the more surprising, then, that this is arguably the current essential guide to one of the most perplexing areas on the psychoanalytic landscape. Rarely does a single book appear that takes a 'hot' topic-about which variably informed impressions exist in the minds of virtually all clinicians and other students of psychoanalysis-and actually gives readers all the materials and tools with which to form a knowledgeable opinion about the issues at stake. This is one of those times."
- Charles Spezzano, Ph.D., Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California
"Anyone familiar with recent psychoanalytic literature knows that a reexamination of basic premises is underway. Now a new commentator has suddenly arisen to provide a systematic and extremely thought-provoking reexamination of the works of four of the major representatives of this trend. Richard Moore's disciplined reading of the contributions of Spence, Schafer, Stolorow, and Hoffman is incisively pivoted on fundamental questions concerning their conceptions of the nature of reality and the implications of their positions for clinical work. His integrative attempt at the end of the book to explore the parameters of a fully realized constructivist position is both thoughtful and insightful. Anyone interested in achieving a grasp of current developments in psychoanalysis will find this lucidly written book invaluable."
- Morros Eagle, Ph.D., Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, Adelphi University
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