Over the course of three decades, in works spanning questions of theory, technique, and clinical practice, Charles Brenner has emerged as one of the preeminent analysts of his generation, a thinker whose probing estimation of mental conflict has promoted the evolutionary growth of analysis as theory even as it has clarified the clinical import of analysis as therapy. In Psychoanalysis: The Science of Mental Conflict, distinguished theorists and clinicians pay homage to Brenner by presenting original essays that converge in their estimation of analysis as "the science of mental conflict."
In sections that encompass "The Theory of Psychoanalysis," "The Concepts of Psychoanalysis," "The Technique of Psychoanalysis," "The Clinical Practice of Psychoanalysis," "The Teaching of Psychoanalysis," and "The Application of Psychanalysis," the contributors show how the perspective of conflict - broadened and refined by the clinical findings of recent decades - offers a vehicle for creative theory-building and, as such, a conceptual handle for apprising the indications for, and action of, psychoanalytic therapy. Arnold Richards' comprehensive overview of Brenner's ranging contributions to theory and practice, along with Martin Willick's critical introductions to the various sections of the book, round out a collections whose scope is complimented by its unusual coherence and thematic unity.
Taken together, the essays comprising this book present readers with a cogent summary of current psychoanalytic thinking, along with an exciting preview of where it is heading in the future. As such, this volume will be welcomed not only by analysts, but by all mental health professionals who draw on, and learn from, the psychoanalytic assessment of conflict in mental life. It is a work that follows Brenner's own example in promoting the critical understanding of a generation of theorists, clinicians, and educators.
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Arnold D. Richards, M.D., is Training and Supervising Analyst, New York Psychoanalytic Institute, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, New York University Medical Center.
Martin S. Willick, M.D., is Training and Supervising Analyst, New York Psychoanalytic Institute, and Lecturer in Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.Review:
"I can think of no more fitting tribute to Charles Brenner than for a distinguished group of colleagues to have compiled a volume such as this. Surely, it is destined to stand as a landmark of progress and a benchmark of excellence in psychoanalytic scholarship. Following Brenner's wide-ranging interests, it traces a steady maturation and refinement of Freud's legacy. Throughout the volume there is both implicit and explicit acknowledgement of the seminal role of Brenner's own work and thinking in this process. In this way, it establishes and enhances his unique stature as a psychoanalytic leader and standard bearer."
- Morton F. Reiser, M.D.
"Charles Brenner is one of the great theoreticians and teachers in the present day psychoanalytic world. Although he is often regarded as a conservative theoretician, the collection of essays in this Festschrift is remarkable testimony to the stimulating influence of Brenner's work. This collection of papers makes fascinating reading, and will surely find a place as an essential source book in the field of psychoanalytic theory and practice."
- Joseph Sandler, M.D., Ph.D.
"This book is a well deserved tribute to one of the finest minds in psychoanalysis. Charles Brenner's teaching and writing have long offered the clearest and most elegant exposition of psychoanalytic theory and practice. His colleagues, among them many of the leading figures in contemporary psychoanalysis, have assembled a rich and rewarding array of clinical and theoretical studies. It will take its place, alongside Brenner's own books, on the shelf of every psychoanalyst."
- Robert Michels, M.D.
"This volume in honor of Charles Brenner provides an excellent opportunity for surveying what is, in effect, a comprehensive, up-to-date, state-of-the-art presentation of traditional American psychoanalytic ego psychology. Charles Brenner's rigorous efforts to bring clarity and precision to the use of psychoanalytic terminology, to achieve parsimony in theory, have stimulated a generation of American psychoanalysts to follow him in a similar self-critical disciplined approach to their psychoanalytical thinking. His colleagues have produced an outstanding and challenging book. It is not what they say about him, but how what they have to say was inspired by him that constitutes the greatest homage to him."
- Otto Kernberg, M.D.
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