A collection of exceptional papers by Michael Eigen, selected and assembled by Adam Phillips, that represent 20 years of writing and 30 years of work. The papers examine the tension, caused by the conflict between poise and catastrophe, in the therapeutic relationship. This volume contains a thought-provoking introduction from Adam Phillips and includes introductory notesA collection of exceptional papers by Michael Eigen, selected and assembled by Adam Phillips, that represent 20 years of writing and 30 years of work. The papers examine the tension, caused by the conflict between poise and catastrophe, in the therapeutic relationship. This volume contains a thought-provoking introduction from Adam Phillips and includes introductory notes for the chapters and a detailed Afterword by Michael Eigen."Eigen is one of the dozen or so most interesting psychoanalysts writing today. "The Electrified Tightrope" presents him in his familiar function as scholar-healer; his speciality: the construction and reconstruction of the breathing, seeing, moving, electric, and, yes, electrifying self. For the mental health practitioner, what Eigen presents are a hundred points of entry. What may seem in our work dim, dismal, even worrisomely "disruptive moments" are show by him to be "necessary steps" in the "profound process by ego repair or formation." Writing from a base that includes institutional and clinical care as well as the private practice, he has much to say to workers everywhere: And how he writes! Don't miss his Afterword or Adam Phillips' elegantly attuned introduction." -- Harold N. Boris"Michael Eigen's writings on psychoanalysis represent a unique clinical and theoretical contribution. Of the many psychoanalysts writing today, Eigen is one of the few who have captured in writing the emotional intensity of the analyst's encounter with himself as well as his patients. Not content to coast on the surface provided by a professional language, Eigen pushes psychoanalytic theory into the vortex of lived experience of anxiety and pain, but also hope. Even as he is enveloping his radical devotion to phenomenological reality in the Winnicottian tradition, Eigen refuses to throw out Freudian theory - as he writes, "We do not know what to do with this multiplicity, but we are not free to evade it." Even when he is the theoretical virtuoso, he offers the reader a sense of one mind working to fathom another mind. And even as he conveys the struggle of analyst and patient to overcome the deadness of not feeling, he offers no facile rhetoric of authenticity, no sense of having the answer. It is hard to imagine any clinician or scholar who will not be moved by Eigen's writing to feel and understand the psychoanalytic project afresh." -- Jessica Benjamin( Previously published 1993 by Jason Aronson Inc)...
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Electrified Tightrope Reviews
I'm giving this book 5* because parts of it are brilliant and expressed with laser like clarity... warning: other parts are a little verbose, overly academic and abstract. If you can get through it, it's worth it. I appreciate how precise Eigen is with his language and the book is packed full of insights. My only critique of this is the same one that I have of a lot of psychoanalytic writing: it occasionally becomes wordy, and draws enough from symbolic life that it kind of veers into projective academic poetry at times. If we're being honest though, I also enjoy projective academic poetry ;) What I loved about this book was that it offered tons of opportunities to experience empathy and to philosophically explore human intentions and behaviors as they relate to power and trauma in a clinical environment. He also made so many wonderful and unique points. Overall: I found it to be optimistic, riveting and raw. And I've never read anything quite like it.