This book explores the compulsions and trauma that underlie addiction, using an intersubjective approach in seeking to understand the inspirations and challenges arising from the psychoanalytic treatment of addiction, compulsivity, and related dissociative conditions.
Drawing on insights from his own analytic practice and personal experience, in addition to the work of Stolorow, Brandchaft and Winnicott, among others, Haber considers the complex ways in which addiction becomes woven into a person’s life, and analyses how it interacts with other problems such as depression and anxiety, self-fragmentation, and ambivalence about treatment. Haber creatively integrates the work of Camus, Kafka, and Beckett to further contemplate the dilemmas that can arise during the clinical process and, in identifying his own and his patients’ vulnerabilities and contradictions, provides an honest, humorous and sometimes painful account of what happens in the consulting room.
With its use of rich clinical material and an accessible and vivid writing style, this book will appeal to all psychoanalysts and psychotherapists working with patients affected by addiction, as well as other professionals seeking new insights into effective strategies for treating this most challenging malady.
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The beauty of Haber’s book is its focus on the phenomenology of the therapeutic relationship, illuminating the dialectic of developmental yearnings and defensive retreats from individuality as played out in the experiences of both patient and analyst.
Robert D. Stolorow founding and senior member of the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles
Darren Haber’s outstanding study of addictive worlds interweaves contemporary psychoanalytic perspectives with rich existential metaphors found in the works of Camus, Beckett, Kafka and others. The psychotherapy of addiction, so fraught with histories of trauma and all manner of antidotal curative fantasies, opens up under his insightful gaze as never before.
George Atwood corresponding member of the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles
In his provocative and contemporary work, Haber commands cutting edge psychoanalytic thought in pointing us toward a more compassionate, phenomenologically based, and rigorously contextualized understanding of addiction and its treatment. His rendering of the problem of disavowed aspects of selfhood, and its concomitant evasion of living an authentically affect-laden life, offers a much-needed corrective to the more familiar and traditional modes of organizing and pathologizing addictive/compulsive processes. Personal, astute, and moving, Haber’s work is a must-read for clinicians and patients alike.
William J. Coburn member of the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles, and Founding Editor Emeritus of Psychoanalysis, Self & Context