Thinking Here and Now
Conversations with innovators in psychotherapy
Aner Govrin & Sharon Ziv-Beiman
"Why the analyst needs to change"
The American relational psychoanalyst and one of the leading Relational scholars Malcolm Slavin will discuss with Aner Govrin and Sharon Ziv-Beiman the ideas he has been writing about over the last decade, such as:
Why it is essential for the patient that the analyst be open to change as part of the analytic process?
How the therapist’s own ways of making meaning in the face of human mortality shape the experience and meaning of the re-narration process for the patient?
How therapists need to grapple with the way our patients probe for how we experience their anxiety, pain, and rage around shared human issues of connection and loss?
One of the things that makes Malcolm Slavin's relational thinking unique is his way of framing clinical questions in broader human terms. He tends to think not in terms of failures or breakdowns but rather in terms of universal features of the human condition amidst the larger story of mortality, self, and other. Thus, the underlying thread running through many of his writings: why meaning-making is crucial to people's existence and how meaningful moments in the therapeutic dyad touch upon these aspects of existence.
"Like any two individuals, therapists and strangers operate through subjective worlds, needs, agendas, ultimately interests, that, to some extent, always diverge,” write Slavin and Kriegman. At times, their interests will inevitably clash…We believe that all analytic traditions overemphasize the extent to which differences in the subjectivities of patient and analyst result from either instinctual clashes, relational failures, or the accidents of environmental failures. Rather, intersubjective distinctions are often ultimately rooted in genuine conflicts of interest".
(Slavin and Kriegman,1998 , 251).
Malcolm Owen Slavin PhD is a founder of the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis (MIP) where he teaches, supervises, and served several terms as President. He is on the faculty of several other psychoanalytic institutes worldwide. He serves as a director of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP) as well as the International Council for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology (IAPSP).
Mal is an associate editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Self and Context.
His first book (with Daniel Kriegman) is “The Adaptive Design of the Human Psyche: Psychoanalysis, Evolutionary Biology and the Therapeutic Process.”
His forthcoming book “Original Loss: Grieving Existential Trauma in Art and the Art of Psychoanalysis (Routledge) explores the major human evolutionary loss of our cohesive instinctual embeddedness within nature—the existential legacy of which we grieve through the arts, religion, and the art of psychoanalysis.
Mal is also assembling a volume of his collected papers entitled "Why the Analyst Needs to Change” a title drawn from his earlier work.
Slavin, M.O. and Kriegman, D. (1998) . Why the Analyst Needs to Change: Toward a Theory of Conflict, Negotiation, and Mutual Influence in the Therapeutic Process. Psychoanalytic. Dial. 8(2):247-284