Stephen A. Mitchell has been at the forefront of the broad paradigmatic shift in contemporary psychoanalysis from the traditional one-person model to a two-person, interactive, relational perspective. In Influence and Automy in Psychoanalysis, Mitchell provides a critical, comparative framework for exploring the broad array of concepts newly developed for understanding interactive processes between analysand and analyst. Drawing on the broad traditions of Kleinian theory and interpersonal psychoanalysis, as well as object relations and progressive Freudian thought, he considers in depth the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis, anachronistic ideals like anymity and neutrality, the nature of analytic kwledge and authority, and the problems of gender and sexual orientation in the age of postmodernism. The problem of influence guides his discussion of these and other topics. How, Mitchell asks, can analytic clinicians best protect the patient's automy and integrity in the context of our growing appreciation of the ermous personal impact of the analyst on the process? Although Mitchell explores many facets of the complexity of the psychoanalytic process, he presents his ideas in his customarily lucid, jargon-free style, making this book appealing t only to clinicians with various backgrounds and degrees of experience, but also to lay readers interested in the achievements of, and challenges before, contemporary psychoanalysis. A splendid effort to relate parallel lines of theorizing and derivative changes in clinical practice and informed by mature clinical judgment and broad scholarship into the history of psychoanalytic ideas, Influence and Automy in Psychoanalysis takes a well-deserved place alongside Mitchell's previous books. It is a brilliant synthesis of converging insights that have transformed psychoanalysis in our time, and a touchstone for enlightened dialogue as psychoanalysis approaches the millennium.
Stephen A. Mitchell, Ph.D. was founding editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues: A Journal of Relational Perspectives, training and supervising analyst at the William Alanson White Institute, and supervisor and faculty member at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. His recent publications include Hope and Dread in Psychoanalysis (1993) and Freud and Beyond (1995, with Margaret Black).