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Freud and Beyond: A History of Modern Psychoanalytic Thought

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,118 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Freud's concepts have become a part of our psychological vocabulary: unconscious thoughts and feelings, conflict, the meaning of dreams, the sensuality of childhood. But psychoanalytic thinking has undergone an enormous expansion and transformation over the past fifty years. With Freud and Beyond, Stephen A. Mitchell and Margaret J. Black make contemporary psychoanalytic t ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 9th 1996 by Basic Books (first published 1995)
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Paul Ataua
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wanted a fairly accessible refresher on psychoanalytic thought before tackling Jacques Lacan and this book gave me everything I wanted and more. It did a fairly good job of starting with the early Freud , moving through the ego psychologists, the object relations school, psychologies of identity, contemporary revisionists, and ended with a short piece on Lacan. I feel a little braver about the journey to come thanks to this.
Jun 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People curious about what shrinks think they're doing
The blurb on the book jacket is right, this book is quite "accessible". For its accessibility, though, it was also intellectually sophisticated enough to not come across as a "pop" history of psychoanalysis. For all its sophistication, it does not come across as a "for professionals only" kind of read, as many of the philosophy books I face do. My only criticism is that for some reason or other, a figure as significant (and popularly known) as Carl Jung gets the short shrift, not to mention the ...more
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful and detailed primer on different psychodynamic ways of thinking. Mitchell and Black explain each theory nicely, and seem to walk a fine line, never vilifying or damning theories, instead stating the differences. It is an excellent review of the different dynamic ways of thinking and I believe, should be read in graduate level courses on psychoanalysis.
Arash Farzaneh
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Simply loved this book! It is informative, insightful and very well-written! There's a wealth of information that is clearly outlined and presented here. If you are curious about or interested in psychoanalysis or mental health and psychology in general, I would highly recommend this book. My only regret is that the book could be longer, while I would have also liked them to mention and present the ideas and theories of Carl Gustav Jung.

Freud and Beyond gives a great survey and overview of gener
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful introduction and overview of psychoanalytic thinking. Makes things accessible through careful building of terminology with application to cases to bring it to life.
Highly recommended for anyone who wants an introduction to the subject. It was great for me as a Psychiatry resident but think it would be suitable for the motivated lay audience or someone undergoing therapy themselves.
Ian Felton
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

When it comes to Freud, many have little to no understanding of him, or a simplistic understanding of his relationship to psychotherapy. When I’ve mentioned Freud to some of my educated friends, they scoff, roll their eyes, or mutter something about “penis envy.” While it’s true that many of Freud’s ideas have been discarded or modified, the core of Freud’s genius is in tact. Whether we like it or not, we still live in Freud’s world. In “Freud and Beyond”
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Klein's formulation of envy, there is an attack on an object; in the case of the original paradigm of the infant at the breast, the infant destroys the breast and spoils its contents. Bion's early efforts to grasp the origins and nature of schizophrenic thought and language, so striking in their fragmentation and apparent meaninglessness, led him to feel that a connection existed between schizophrenic fragmentation and the kind of envious attacks described by Klein, but that what was attacked ...more
Jan Goericke
Don't know much about psychoanalysis and want to know what it is all about? Want to know what has been done in the field since Sigmund Freud? This book is an exceptionally well done introduction to the field. The authors start with an explanation of Sigmund Freud's initial work and then progress along in time to the present day highlighting key contributors and directions in the field. Case studies of various patients illustrate the work of various lines of thoughts within the psychoanalytic com ...more
Michael-David Sasson
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
Stunning. Super helpful. The ability to share outlines of how so many deep thinkers and practitioners viewed therapeutic work and emotional/mental experience is incredibly impressive especially when the author is able to bring up previously discussed theorists to compare and contrast with the current school that is being discussed.

I have to admit I don't have clear memory of each of the schools and their differences but when it is relevant I will definitely know where to look.

My one disappointme
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best of its kind

Mitchell provides a thorough in-depth comparative analysis of psychoanalysis. This work should be helpful to those new to psychoanalysis as well as those more informed. In my opinion, this is perhaps the best resource of its kind outside of Object Relations in Psychoanalytic Theory by Greenberg and Mitchell.
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychoanalysis
Excellent overview of various post-Freudian currents, ego psychologists, Kleinians, interpersonalists, object relations, self psychologists, all illustrated with clinical material. . . . somewhat lacking in French psychoanalysis, however; the section on Lacan is pretty short and there's no Laplanche or André Green. . . .
James Hansen
Outstanding historical and scholarly overview of the significant movements in psychoanalytic thought, including current controversies in theory and technique - accessible, highly readable, engaging, deep, and intellectually satisfying - fantastic!
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
The information is very dense, and the author's wrting style sometimes make it hard to understand. However, a very comprehensive summary of the classical and contemporary psychodynamic theories. I found the presented cases very interesting and insightful.
Iddo Schejter
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very clear overview of psychoanalytic thought starting with Freud till Lacan. Excellent for those without any background on the subject. What's unclear is why key figures like Jung and Adler weren't includes.
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Doing my MA in Psychology now and loving this book, very well written, comprehensive and easy to understand.
Joel Adams
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
// finally finished -- dense, thorough and thoughtfully written -- a definitive tour from classical psychoanalysis to contemporary modes and interactional methods
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sam Moceri
Nov 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Good survey for the initiate
Jeremy Johnston
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not even sure this is a particularly good book, but it probably changed my life and was helpful with understanding what's going on in my psychoanalysis appointments.
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was exactly what I sought. A lucid and engaging overview of psychoanalysis and its various historical developments. Much illumination.
Moriah Conant
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a good overview of psychoanalytic theory. It is somewhat dense, but a good textbook.
Ambitious work that doesn't quite do it. The language is often much too abstract and dense. I've reread this several time, and still find it just as hard to follow. The authors I have read on here (Sullivan, Horney, Fromm, Erikson, A. Freud) all do a much better job explaining their work in their own books and are far more interesting in their own words. Perhaps the same can be said for the rest.

Besides style, my main complaint with this book is it's presented as though there has been a steady
Arjun Ravichandran
May 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Competently-written introduction of the main branches of psychoanalytic theory, stemming from Freud. The authors, in fact, make the organic growth explicit, by re-iterating Freud's views at the beginning of the chapter before explaining how the theorist in question diverged from the orthodox viewpoint.
The number of different viewpoints can be surprising to someone who assumed that Freud was psychoanalysis and vice versa ; but Freud died 70 years ago and other, equally brilliant minds, have expa
Tom Syverson
Nov 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent run-down of the history of psychoanalytic theory. It's not the easiest book to get through, but ultimately it's a highly worthwhile read.

For me, certain schools of psychoanalysis are far more interesting than others; unfortunately, this doesn't always correspond to the length of the chapter covering it. Inevitably, this means that you're going to be stuck reading about some stuff that doesn't interest you as much. Correspondingly, you're stuck with the feeling that not enou
Jul 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Stephen Mitchell is a really good writer, and this is his most accessible book (though I haven't read his last one, I've read all the others). He wrote this book with his wife, who I've never read before, and I'm going to assume he wrote most of it.

I read this before going to the institute, and after. I'm on the last two chapters but it's a really good summary of recent developments, and if you can get past the Freud chapters, it's probably the one book on psychoanalysis I would recommend, if y
Oct 29, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: psychology
It seems very interesting to me that a lot of people have called this book quite 'accessible', personally I though it was almost unreadable. 'Did not like it' is quite an understatement. Most of the descriptions are very abstract and it seems to me that the writer had trouble organizing the content into a coherent whole, for me it lacks structure and clarity. I had no trouble at all putting it down, on the contrary, it was a struggle every time to pick it up again. I don't experience this often ...more
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Easy-to-read introduction to the major thinkers in psychoanalytic therapy. A variety of schools are covered and the authors make a point of always tying each thinker's contributions back to their Freudian roots. It definitely paints the picture of a fractured field, but, due to presentation, offers the potential for an integrative approach. Very much worth the read for anyone even remotely interested in the field and is recommended for anyone interested in therapy, even if they are not intereste ...more
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Stephen Mitchell is a pleasure to read, especially in light of the verbosity, complexity or cryptic nature of the writing of many of the thinkers that he has distilled in this book (e.g. Lacan, Kohut). Mitchell offers clear and simple summaries of object relations, drive theory, self psychology and other primary concepts/branches of psychoanalysis. After reading Freud's "Intro to Psychoanalysis" and this book, I feel like I have fair base to build on to dive more specifically into any of the mai ...more
Jan 31, 2017 rated it liked it
A thorough and clearly narrated survey of psychoanalysis: its history, major themes, as well as differing approaches and widening branches. Mitchell interwove various cases to elucidate concepts and approaches.

"Psychoanalytic theories radiate in different directions from a common, core commitment to a sustained, collaborative inquiry into the complex textures of human experience, established in the interplay between past and present, actuality and fantasy, self and other, internal and external,
Dec 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: smart-and-clear
this is the book that you wish existed in every field.

stephen mitchell and margaret black join are such lucid explicators. they are hereby inducted into the iris marion young club.

and just when you're about to stop caring viz. some of the weirder, dated offshots of psychoanalytic theory, compelling case snippets elucidate what they look like in practice, how they might help real struggling human beings. yum. total heartwarming intellectual yum.
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