Coparticipant Psychoanalysis: Toward a New Theory of Clinical Inquiry

Coparticipant Psychoanalysis: Toward a New Theory of Clinical Inquiry

Coparticipant Psychoanalysis: Toward a New Theory of Clinical Inquiry

Coparticipant Psychoanalysis: Toward a New Theory of Clinical Inquiry

Synopsis

Traditionally, two clinical models have been dominant in psychoanalysis: the classical paradigm, which views the analyst as an objective mirror, and the participant-observation paradigm, which views the analyst as an intersubjective participant-observer. According to John Fiscalini, an evolutionary shift in psychoanalytic consciousness has been taking place, giving rise to coparticipant inquiry, a third paradigm that represents a dramatic shift in analytic clinical theory and that has profound clinical implications.

Coparticipant inquiry integrates the individualistic focus of the classical tradition and the social focus of the participant-observer perspective. It is marked by a radical emphasis on analysts' and patients' analytic equality, emotional reciprocity, psychic symmetry, and relational mutuality. Unlike the previous two paradigms, coparticipant inquiry suggests that we are all inherently communal beings and, yet, are simultaneously innately self-fulfilling, unique individuals. The book looks closely at the therapeutic dialectics of the personal and interpersonal selves and discusses narcissism -- the perversion of the self -- within its clinical role as the neurosis that contextualizes all other neuroses. Thus the goal of this book is to define coparticipant inquiry; articulate its major principles; analyze its implications for a theory of the self and the treatment of narcissism; and discuss the therapeutic potential of the coparticipant field and the coparticipant nature of transference, resistance, therapeutic action, and analytic vitality. Fiscalini explores "analytic space," which marks the psychic limit of coparticipant activity; the "living through process," which, he suggests, subtends all analytic change; and "openness to singularity," which is essential to analytic vitality.

Coparticipant Psychoanalysis brings crucial insights to clinical theory and practice and is an invaluable resource for psychoanalysts and therapists, as well as students and practitioners of psychology, psychiatry, and social work.

Excerpt

Two clinical models have been dominant in psychoanalysis: first, the classical paradigm, the view of the analyst as an objective mirror. the interpersonal turn in psychoanalysis led to a second view of the analyst as an intersubjective participant-observer. Participant-observation, in its broadest sense, refers to the clinical perspectives of interpersonal psychoanalysis, self-psychology, relational analysis, intersubjectivity theory, social constructivism, and some aspects of contemporary Freudian analysis, all of which, despite their many differences, share a clinical focus on the analysis of the interpsyche (the social mind).

However, an evolutionary shift in psychoanalytic consciousness has been taking place. a newly emerging, or more accurately, reemerging third paradigm, coparticipant inquiry, represents a shift in analytic clinical theory. This is a major shift, with profound clinical implications (which are examined throughout the book). Coparticipant inquiry, as a unique form of clinical participation, is marked by a radical emphasis on patients’ and analysts’ analytic equality, emotional reciprocity, psychic symmetry, and relational mutuality. the concept of coparticipant inquiry builds upon and extends the concepts of inquiry of the two previous models of psychoanalytic praxis.

This book draws upon and is developed from arguments advanced in Fiscalini (1988,1990,1991, i994a,b). Part 1, in particular (chapters 1–3), is a study and exploration of coparticipant inquiry as an evolving clinical paradigm. My aim is to delineate its salient characteristics and to articulate its radical advantages over the other models of analytic therapy. Coparticipant inquiry integrates the individualistic focus of the classical tradition and the social focus of the participant-observer viewpoint, forming, as it were, a third clinical paradigm.

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