Searching for the Perfect Woman: The Story of a Complete Psychoanalysis

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This is not your typical psychotherapy case; it is the story of one man's inner struggle to find peace and happiness in an internal world filled with dangerous father figures and tempting but rejecting femme fatales. Training analyst, author, and four-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Vamik Volkan weaves a compelling story of Hamilton's complete psychoanalysis. From one angle, it is an evocative, accessible page-turner, drawing readers from the professional world and the lay public into the inner life of a compulsive womanizer, and the psychoanalytic treatment that brought about massive change in his inner life and personal relationships. From another angle, it is about the profound influence of historical traumas transmitted across generations and how not only an individual's parents' personal trauma, but also ancestors' historical traumas, reverberate in the current generation. Our ancestors' suffering during wars, for example, does not disappear when our ancestors die or when wars end, but continues to influence their offspring. For the deeply inquisitive person and serious students of psychoanalysis, this is an opportunity to learn about psychoanalytic theory and technique applied to a single case. The book confronts the question "Does psychoanalysis help?" Through this detailed account of the psychoanalytic treatment processes, the reader witnesses the slow but compelling changes in Hamilton's internal world. Interspersed throughout the manuscript, J. Christopher Fowler, an experienced therapist, clinical researcher, and educator, challenges Volkan to explain how his psychoanalytic techniques affect changes in Hamilton's mind.

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Editorial Reviews

Tomas Böhm
This is an eminent basic psychoanalytic text—based on a case history—by an empathic, classical analyst, working with a generous, interesting patient. Both beginners and experienced analysts can profit from it. Volkan also succeeds in showing the importance of transgenerational transmission and its power in creating symptoms and personality traits.
Kerry Kelly Novick
Vamik Volkan is renowned for bringing his psychoanalytic knowledge and insight to problems on a world scale. Here he applies his gifts to the microcosm of an individual psychoanalysis, the story of two people wrestling with the demons of one man's past to achieve his personal liberation and rebirth. Readers of all kinds will be moved and enlightened by the access Volkan offers to the process. Professional readers at all levels of experience can learn here from a master craftsman about technique, the true application of empathy, and the personal grit demanded of the analyst. The innovative structure of the book provides a sophisticated and sensitive interlocutor in J. Christopher Fowler, who speaks for the reader to enhance our understanding of Volkan's thoughts, feelings, and choices.
M. Gerard Fromm
Volkan and Fowler have given us a gem of a story and a rare opportunity to slow it down and examine the inner workings of a successful psychoanalysis. With Fowler as interlocuter, we are with the analyst as he hears the patient's material, notices what goes through his mind, lets his feelings inform him, speaks and then listens to what comes back. We feel an accruing appreciation for the deep historicity of human lives and the intertwining of technique and relationship in the consulting room. Like the patient and the analyst, we come away from this encounter profoundly enriched, not only by our renewed understanding of the work of a clinical psychoanalysis—its pulse, pain and beauty—but also by the joy of it as well.
Tomas Böhm M.D.
This is an eminent basic psychoanalytic text—based on a case history—by an empathic, classical analyst, working with a generous, interesting patient. Both beginners and experienced analysts can profit from it. Volkan also succeeds in showing the importance of transgenerational transmission and its power in creating symptoms and personality traits.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765706164
  • Publisher: Aronson, Jason Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/8/2009
  • Series: New Imago Series
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Vamik D. Volkan, M.D. is the Senior Erik Erikson Scholar at the Erikson Institute of Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia, an emeritus training and supervising analyst at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, and a guest lecturer at the Berkshire Psychoanalytic Institute.J. Christopher Fowler, Ph.D. is director of research at the Erik H. Erikson Institute, Austen Riggs Center. He is a fellow of the Society for Personality Assessment, consulting editor for the Journal of Personality Assessment, and a member of the Society for Psychotherapy Research.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 1. Dr. Schreber's Shadow Chapter 2 2. A Boy in a Mailbox Chapter 3 3. Inky Messes Chapter 4 4. Pineapple Upside-down Cake Chapter 5 5. Madonna and the Dead Child Chapter 6 6. Shrinking the Torture Chamber Chapter 7 7. Finding and Letting Go a Warm Breast Chapter 8 8. Why Did Ataturk Encourage Turkish Women to Remove Their Veils? Chapter 9 9. Joining the Man's World Chapter 10 10. You Have Your Tools and I Have Mine Chapter 11 11. The Gulf War and the Mannequins of the American Civil War Chapter 12 12. Taking Stock Chapter 13 13. A Blue Ribbon Family Chapter 14 14. Years Later

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