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Emotional Understanding


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With a unique blend of clinical compassion and philosophical reflection, Dr. Orange illuminates the nature and process of psychoanalytic understanding. The book argues that psychoanalytic understanding emerges from mutual emotional participation in the intersubjective field formed by the patient and therapist, and explores the process through which patient and therapist can attain "good?enough" understanding to heal emotional wounds. Reflecting many of the most recent developments in psychoanalytic thinking, the book demonstrates a shift from drive to the organization of experience as a primary motivator; from scientific objectivism to hermeneutic perspectivism, and above all, from the values of independence and isolation to those of interdependence and community. This book will be of interest to psychoanalytically?oriented therapists, as well as other readers interested in the psychoanalytic healing process and philosophical issues within psychoanalysis. It serves as an important text for advanced courses on conceptual issues in psychoanalysis.

About the Author

Donna M. Orange, Ph.D., Psy.D., holds two doctorates: one in Philosophy from Fordham University and the other in Clinical Psychology from Yeshiva University. A faculty member of the Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity and a supervisor at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University, she maintains a private practice in New Jersey.


In a remarkable and novel way, this book brings together contemporary psychoanalytic theories and clinically relevant aspects of philosophy to answer the question, `What is emotional understanding and how is it being communicated?' It is written in a clear and evocative style that reflects the book's message that understanding another can only be attained in a dialogue in which the participants are genuinely emotionally engaged. The book will richly reward the experienced as well as the novice in the practice of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. --Anna Ornstein, MD, Prof of Child Psychiatry, Co-Director, International Center for the Study of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology

With deceptive simplicity, Donna Orange explores here the basic premises that underlie psychotherapeutic effectiveness. Her collaborative model of the treatment process illuminates such bedrock issues as emotional memory, understanding and misunderstanding, and healing. In a voice consistent with her theoretical convictions, she moves fluidly from sharing her subjective emotional experiences to making intellectually incisive inferences about their meaning. By exemplifying the rare combination of philosophical sophistication and personal humility, Orange has encouraged all of us in the field to `hold lightly' our pet explanatory constructs. --Nancy McWilliams, Ph.D., Graduate School of Applied & Professional Psychology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey In this brilliant and beautiful book, philosopher-psychoanalyst Donna Orange grounds the clinical psychoanalytic enterprise in the solid epistemological foundation it has long and sorely needed. In her perspectival, dialogic, and thoroughly intersubjective vision of psychoanalysis as `emotional understanding gained by making sense together, ' the old false dichotomy between insight and affective bonding is finally and definitively mended. Emotional Understanding provides a philosophically sound view of the psychoanalytic process that will serve as an invaluable guide for all clinicians who seek to heal emotional wounds and help establish new ways of emotional experiencing. --Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D., Training and Supervising Analyst, Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles Donna Orange has written an eloquent and inspiring volume, teaching us to have more respect and regard for our patients than for our theories. She balances this perspective with an encompassing mastery of philosophy, and interweaves that collective wisdom with the contemporary analytic approaches of self psychology, intersubjectivity theory, and other relational approaches. Mental health professionals will be greatly enriched by reading this book. --Morton Shane, MD, co-president of the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles, CA

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