Is there a baby in the relational consulting room? How and when can/should we try to hold our patients? What happens to the analyst's subjectivity when she tries to hold?
In Holding and Psychoanalysis: A Relational Perspective (second Edition), Joyce Slochower brings a contemporary relational framework to bear on Winnicott's notion of the holding environment. Revisiting the clinical impact and theoretical underpinnings of holding, Slochower explores its function in those moments when "ordinary" interpretive or interactive work cannot be tolerated. Slochower expands the holding construct beyond the needs of dependent patients by examining its therapeutic function across the clinical spectrum. Emphasizing holdingâs coconstructed nature, Slochower explores the contribution of both patient and analyst the holding moment.
This second Edition introduces new theoretical and clinical material, including four additional chapters. Two of these address holdingâs impact on the patientâs capacity to access, articulate and process affect states; the third moves outside the consulting room to explore how holding functions in acts of memorial ritual across the lifespan. A final chapter presents Slochowerâs latest ideas about holdingâs clinical function in buffering shame states.
Integrating Winnicott's seminal contributions with contemporary relational and feminist/psychoanalytic perspectives, Joyce Slochower addresses the therapeutic limitations of both interpretive and interactive clinical work. There are times, she argues, when patients cannot tolerate explicit evidence of the analyst's separate presence and instead need a holding experience. Slochower conceptualizes holding within a relational frame that includes both deliberate and enacted elements. In her view, the analyst does not hold alone; patient and analyst each participate in the establishment of a co-constructed holding space. Slochower pays particular attention to the analyst's experience during moments of holding, offering rich clinical vignettes that illustrate the complex struggle that holding entails. She also addresses the therapeutic limits of holding and invites the reader to consider the analystâs contribution to these failures. Slochower locates the holding process within a broader clinical framework that involves the transition toward collaborationâa move away from holding and into an explicitly intersubjective therapeutic frame.
Holding and Psychoanalysis offers a sophisticated integration of Winnicottian and relational thought that privileges the dynamic impact of holding moments on both patient and analyst. Thoroughly grounded in case examples, the book offers compelling clinical solutions to common therapeutic knots. Clearly written and carefully explicated, it will be an important addition to the libraries of psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists.