Friday, 20 September 2013

New review in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy: What does the environment have to do with psychoanalysis?

Another interesting review of my book has appeared, this time in the journal Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, reviewed by Robert Tollemache, from the Lincoln Clinic and Institute for Psychotherapy. 


Tollemache particularly focuses on the use of complexity theory in the book, including concepts such as self-organisation, criticality, swarm intelligence, emergence, and feedback loops, and offers several illuminating examples from his own clinical practice. Tollemache seems to accept the basic idea developed in the book that complexity theory and nonlinearity provide a useful way to approach the complex dynamics of change in both psychic systems (including the analyst-analysand dyad, dreams, free association, interpretation, transference, addictions, compulsions, manic-depression), social systems (such as social movements) and natural systems (ant swarms, neural networks, ecosystems, and climate change). Thus complexity theory is seen as highly applicable to clinical psychoanalytic practice, as well as helping psychoanalysis make real meaningful connections with other fields, (essential in the face of climate change).

This is an area I personally think is crucial and hasn't always been understood or picked up on in previous reviews, which have mostly (and understandably) focused on the more straightforwardly psychoanalytic elements, as as eco-anxiety and defence mechanisms. 

In his review Tollemache writes that:

"Dodds shows us the interconnectedness between the ecology of mind, the ecology of society and the ecology of nature; each, worlds of infinite complexity, and locates psychoanalysis as part of a mind–society–nature continuum... He shows that complexity theory both illuminates psychoanalysis and helps to understand the crisis of man-made climate change… These ways of understanding the world are potentially revolutionary... Dodds’ enthusiasm for them is infectious, which encourages the reader to get to grips with this complicated but essential way of thinking."
     - Robert Tollemache (2013) What does the environment have to do with psychoanalysis? Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Review of Psychoanalysis and Ecology at the Edge of Chaos by Joseph Dodds. 2013 Vol.27, No.2, 187–190

See the updated reviews section of this blog. 

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