This book argues that properly understood, irony plays a crucial role in therapeutic action. It is written as an invitation to clinicians to renew their own engagement with the fundamental concepts of their practice. It investigates the concepts of subjectivity and objectivity that are appropriate for psychoanalysts, the concept of internalisation and of transference. It will be of interest to anyone concerned with the central concepts of psychoanalysis.
'Jonathan Lear's Therapeutic Action vindicates its Oscar Wildean subtitle - An Earnest Plea for Irony - by giving us a Kierkegaardian reading, not so much of Hans Loewald, but of the transferences between Loewald and Lear. Just as the surviving traces of Plato in Freud was to identify reality-testing with a cognition freed of its sexual past, even so Lear attempts his own version of Kierkegaard's "The Case of the Contemporary Disciple"; Lear is Plato to Loewald's Socrates, which is an audacious venture. Therapeutic Action has the high merit of helping me to rethink some of my own transferences.'- Harold Bloom'Jonathan Lear's psychoanalytic and philosophical sophistication have enabled him to produce a lucid, incisive, and convincing argument about how psychoanalysis leads to a better life through the particular deployment of the capacity for love. Anyone who loves rigorous, creative argument will find this encounter with Lear and his thinking about why the analytic conversation is transforming an intellectual experience of the highest and most exciting order. This is one of those rare books that can actually let you change the way you think and the way you live.'- Robert A. Paul, Ph.D.'In this bold and intriguing book, Jonathan Lear asks: How do psychoanalysts communicate not with their patients but with each other? Do the forms of psychoanalytic writing continue to reflect a distorted notion of scientific rigor? Do analysts in writing about therapeutic action ignore a key insight: that what they say matters less than how they say it? Does the health of the psychoanalytic profession currently hinge on analysts becoming more aware of how the form of their communication affects their lives as analysts?'With these provocative questions, Lear returns to his own point of departure as an analyst: his conversations with Hans Loewald and Loewald's paper on the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis. Honouring the dying wish of his mentor, he seeks to discover in a field riddled with discipleship how not to become a disciple. And with this untimely personal "how-not-to" book, Lear engages the difficult question: how to write about the process of psychic change without betraying either love or science. Therapeutic Action will enliven the thinking of anyone involved in analyzing the psyche.'- Carol Gilligan, author of In a Different Voice and The Birth of Pleasure