For many therapists it has replaced previous action terms such as acting in and acting out. Something new has been captured by this concept: a recognition of a process that may involve words but goes beyond words. For some, enactment addresses a continuous undercurrent in the interaction between patient and therapist in the realm of intersubjectivity. Others ask whether this concept adds either clarity or a new perspective to the clinical situation. This volume addresses the questions: Does the current focus on enactments entail a shift in our model of therapeutic change? Are enactments essential? Can they be dangerous, and if so, under what circumstances? Enactment is essential reading for all psychotherapists.
Several major trends in psychoanalytic theory and technique converge on the concept of enactment in a way that allows us to see where we are comping from and where we are heading, where major agreement exists and where disagreements convey questions for continuing exploration. This book brings together the history of transference and countertransference in a compact, digestible way that sets the stage for the examination of recent points of convergence. The chapters in the first half develop the concept of enactment in classical and new theoretical papers. The second half demonstrates the clinical usefulness of the idea of enactment and locates it at the center of the therapeutic process. The final chapter draws together the many strands presented in the book to give an overview of agreements and of questions that remain. Enactment is an exciting, comprehensive book to be explored, used in training, and valued by psychotherapists of all persuasions and levels of experience. -- David E. Scharff, M.D., International Psychotherapy Institute and the IPA Committee on Family and Couple Psychoanalysis Ellman and Moskowitz's timely new book is a superb collection of the essential papers on enactment. Tracing its history from Freud's writings on transference to the most current ideas in today's psychoanalytic world, the editors include contributions that refine the technical meaning of the term, illustrate its clinical applicability, and point out both the advantages and disadvantages of thinking in terms of enactment. Ellman's concluding chapter, itself worth the purchase price of the volume, documents substantial changes in the classical theory of technique and explores enactments in relation to analysts' capacities to regulate their own narcissism. His conclusions go a long way to modifying the analyst's participation leading 'toward a new approach to the therapeutic relationship.' The book will be an important scholarly resource for anyone interested in the therapeutic relationship and psychoanalysts. -- Lewis Aron, Ph.D., New York University