The Embedded Self: A Psychoanalytic Guide to Family Therapy

The Embedded Self: A Psychoanalytic Guide to Family Therapy

by Mary Joan Gerson
     
 

The Embedded Self is a thoughtful and illuminating introduction to family treatment tailored to the sensibilities of psychoanalytically oriented clinicians. Skilled in both modalities, Mary-Joan Gerson provides the psychoanalytic reader with a genial overview of the family therapy movement, its history, its organizing concepts, and its interventions. Basic

Overview

The Embedded Self is a thoughtful and illuminating introduction to family treatment tailored to the sensibilities of psychoanalytically oriented clinicians. Skilled in both modalities, Mary-Joan Gerson provides the psychoanalytic reader with a genial overview of the family therapy movement, its history, its organizing concepts, and its interventions. Basic family therapy approaches to development, diagnosis, and clinical engagement, as well as practical questions (such as when to refer and how to share information with colleagues) all fall within her purview.

But more importantly, The Embedded Self takes up the intellectual challenge of an alternative therapeutic modality to engage crucial questions about the therapeutic process. Pivoting her juxtaposition of the two forms of treatment on basic psychodynamic principles, Gerson invites the reader to appreciate how concepts developed for understanding the individual psyche are necessarily transformed when applied to the redundant communication patterns characteristic of family systems. The result is a striking reappraisal of the nature and possibilities of psychodynamic intervention in which psychoanalysis and family therapy stand as figure and ground to one another, each shedding new light on the fundamental principles of the other.

The Embedded Self is a timely work that succeeds at different levels - as introduction, as guidebook, and as invitation to renewed reflection on the nature of the self and the dynamics of therapeutic change. Engagingly written and liberally illustrated with sensitive clinical vignettes, it is destined to inform all future discussions of the complementary nature of individual and family interventions.

Editorial Reviews

Readings
This book is so outstanding an analysis of science and therapy that it is essential reading for those dealing with human suffering and trauma. It transcends psychoanalysis and family therapy both, and observes the human condition objectively and, at the same time, with compassion and warmth.
American Orthopsychiaric Assoc.
...so outstanding an analysis of science and therapy that it is essential reading for those dealing with human suffering and trauma. (American Orthopsychiatric Association)
American Family Therapy Academy
I enjoyed the book for its vivid writing, its impressive scholarliness, its felicitous blend of fundamental  questions...

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780881631586
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
05/01/1996
Edition description:
Older Edition
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

Edgar Levenson
 A brilliant and long overdue rapprochement between psychoanalysis and family therapy conceived by a practitioner trained and experienced in both modalities of treatment. Although primarily directed to psychoanalysts interested in expanding their clinical repertories, this books also offers family therapists an excellent overview of their own field.                    (Edgar Levenson, M.D., Training and Supervising Analyst, William Alanson White Institute)  
Jerome Bruner
With an admirable sensitivity at once clinical, theoretical, and literary, Dr. Gerson explores two very different approaches to human suffering not only to help the clinician, but also the student of the human condition in our times. What distinguishes the book throughout is a richness of clinical material that is examined from different perspectives: the author never needs reminding that life is narrative, nor that narratives illustrate theories. There are few scholar-clinicians anywhere who are as qualified as Mary-Joan Gerson to undertake an exploration of this order. We are in her debt. (Jerome S. Bruner,  Ph.D., Research Professor of Psychology, New York University)
Phyllis Chohen
Throughout the book, Dr. Gerson demonstrates a remarkable ability to integrate theoretical concepts of systems and psychoanalysis. We see that, despite the many differences in perspective and vocabulary, "there can be useful interpenetration of ideas from one to the other." She explains that each perspective "offers a different set of explanations and contrasts."(Phyllis Chohen, PhD, Adjunct Assistant Prof. at NYU School of Applied Psych)
Salvador Minuchin
Mary-Joan Gerson speaks to psychoanalysts from the perspective of family therapy and to family therapists from the perspective of psychoanalysis. This dual approach brings novelty to familiar concepts and phrases.  Like a book of Borges' poetry that I read in both Spanish and English, The Embedded Self brings intellectual challenge and esthetic pleasure. Any clinician, whether systemic or psychodynamic, will find this book an enriching and thought-provoking experience.(Salvador Minuchin, M.D., Research Professor of Psychiatry, NYU Medical Center)
Virginia Goldner
In her masterful meditation on the figure-ground relationship between psychoanalytic and systemic thinking, Mary-Joan Gerson has brought each tradition into fresh focus, providing the clinician and theoretician alike with richly textured insights and innovative therapeutic techniques. (Virginia Goldner, Ph.D., Senior Faculty, Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy)

Meet the Author

Mary-Joan Gerson, Ph.D., is Clinical Associate Professor and Supervisor of Psychoanalysis in the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She is Coordinator of Family Therapy Training in the NYU doctoral program in clinical psyhcology and is Chair of the Committee on Psychoanalysis and Family Therapy of the Psychoanalysis Division (39) of the American Psychological Association.

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