Besides Family: Extending the Orbit of Psychic Development

Editor : Salman Akhtar, Editor : April Fallon, Editor : Rama Rao Gogineni

Besides Family: Extending the Orbit of Psychic Development

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : June 2023
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 224
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 97142
  • ISBN 13 : 9781800131774
  • ISBN 10 : 1800131771

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With contributions from Salman Akhtar, Patricia Boguski, Ann Eichen, April Fallon, Theodore Fallon, Jr., Rama Rao Gogineni, Mark Moore, Sonja Ware.

Collectively authored by psychoanalytic colleagues of multiple nationalities, ages, genders, religious origins, and meta-theoretical persuasions, Besides Family goes far beyond the usual orbit of parents and siblings. Casting a wide net, the contributors look at a number of key figures who may affect an individual’s psychic development and functioning. Each character receives a full chapter which highlights both the beneficial and adverse possibilities within these relationships.

The book opens with a chapter on nannies, tracing the centuries-old history in the West and focusing on four renowned psychoanalysts: Sigmund Freud, Sándor Ferenczi, John Bowlby, and Wilfred Bion. Next comes a discussion of neighbours, using material from religious texts, fiction, and poetry. This is followed by a chapter on childhood playmates and friends, which examines the nature of friendship and how it develops across the lifespan. School teachers come next, using literature on teacher–student relationships synthesised with psychoanalytic developmental theory. Clergy is the next subject of discussion, blending Judeo-Christian religious customs with psychoanalytic developmental theory. The developmental significance of adolescent peers is examined next using a blend of neurophysiology, endocrine studies, behavioral observations, social–cultural vectors, and psychoanalytic insights. A discussion of lovers and the myriad ways in which romantic relationships mirror early development is the penultimate chapter. The book ends on the role of mentors and the evolution of the mentor–mentee relationship, taking into account the impact of age, race, and gender.

The authors integrate material from history, anthropology, sociology, religion, literature, and film studies alongside vignettes from clinical practice and day-to-day life to bring theory to life. This fascinating exploration is essential reading for practising clinicians and trainees to broaden their understanding of the impact of the wide network that surrounds us all.

Reviews and Endorsements

This edited volume by Salman Akhtar and his colleagues methodically addresses the often neglected developmental impact of relationships with people other than one’s parents and siblings. This is a fresh topic indeed. For all of us who constantly strive to understand ourselves and our patients, a thoughtfully compiled collection of papers on this novel orbit of psychic development is a superb gift.
Aisha Abbasi, MD, Training and Supervising Analyst, Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute; Author of Rupture of Serenity: External Intrusions and Psychoanalytic Technique

Besides Family uncovers an important lacuna in psychoanalytic literature. It reveals fertile furrows to plough in this wide-ranging and engaging book.
Jonathan Sklar, FRCPsych, Training Analyst, British Psychoanalytical Society; Author of Dark Times: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Politics, History and Mourning

As psychoanalysts, our emphasis has traditionally been on the effects of various family members on psychic development. Non-familial figures important for ego growth have been neglected. Such “significant others” differ for each of us but it is valuable for the clinician to know which “others” support a person undergoing psychotherapy or psychoanalysis. Besides Family stimulated me to think more deeply about my internally significant others and pay closer attention to such presences in the lives of my patients.
Mary Kay O’Neil, PhD, Training and Supervising Analyst, Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis; Author of Mothering Alone: A Plea for Opportunity

A short review cannot do justice to each chapter, suffice to say that the contents covered are- nannies, neighbours, school teachers, playmates/friends, clergy, adolescent peers, lovers and professional mentors. The observations are wide ranging [...] Akhtar’s chapter, like all his writing, is comprehensive in scope [...] This is a valuable publication and traces an expanding ‘orbit’ worth following and important to do so.
Martin Weegmann, Psychodynamic Practice, 2024

Every chapter taught me something new. [...] An overarching theme is a belief in the strength of the individual's developmental drive, that desire to repeat the past but find a different outcome. The chapter on lovers is a good example of this with eight beautiful clinical vignettes illustrating the movement over the lifespan towards mature love. Psychopathology is not ignored but the emphasis is on opportunities for growth. This is an accessible and thoughtful book that illustrates the wisdom of the old African saying it quotes: "It takes a village to raise a child".
Jane Cooper, MBACP (Snr Accred), former senior counsellor in higher education, BACP Therapy Today, May 2024, 35:4

Table of Contents

About the editors and contributors

1. Nannies
Patricia Boguski

2. Neighbors
Salman Akhtar

3. School Teachers
Theodore Fallon, Jr.

4. Friends and Playmates
Mark Moore

5. Clergy
Sonja Ware

6. Adolescent Peers
Rama Rao Gogineni

7. Lovers
Ann Eichen

8. Professional Mentors
April Fallon


About the Editor(s)

Salman Akhtar, MD, was born in India and completed his medical and psychiatric education there. Upon arriving in the USA in 1973, he repeated his psychiatric training at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and then obtained psychoanalytic training from the Philadelphia Psychoanalytic Institute. Currently, he is Professor of Psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College and a training and supervising analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. He has authored, edited or co-edited more than 300 publications including books on psychiatry and psychoanalysis and several collections of poetry. He is also a Scholar-in-Residence at the Inter-Act Theatre Company in Philadelphia. Salman Akhtar received the Sigourney Award in 2012.

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April Fallon, Ph.D. is the Faculty Chair and Professor of Clinical Psychology at Fielding Graduate University and Clinical Professor in psychiatry at Drexel College of Medicine. She received her baccalaureate degree from Allegheny College (1975) and a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania (1981). She has received numerous awards for her teaching of psychiatric medical residents including the Psychiatric Educator 2012 from Philadelphia Psychiatric Society. She has co-authored six books with Virginia Brabender: Models of Inpatient Group Psychotherapy (1993), Awaiting the Therapist’s Baby: A Guide for Expectant Parent-Practitioners (2003), Essentials of Group Psychotherapy (2004), Group Development in Practice: Guidance for Clinicians and Researchers on Stages and Dynamics of Change (2009), The Impact of Parenthood on the Therapeutic Relationship: Awaiting the Therapist’s Baby (2018, 2nd Ed.), and Group Psychotherapy in Inpatient, Partial Hospital, and Residential Care settings (2019). She also has co-edited an additional volume, Working with Adoptive Parents: Research, Theory and Therapeutic Interventions (2013). In addition, she has researched and written on the development of disgust in children and adults, body image and eating disorders, the effects of childhood maltreatment, attachment and adoption.

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Rama Rao Gogineni, M.D. is Division Head of Child Psychiatry at Cooper University Hospital and Professor in Psychiatry at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. He received his M.D. degree from Osmania University in India (1972). He completed his General Psychiatry Residency from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (1979) and his Child and Adolescent fellowship from Medical College of Pennsylvania (1982). He obtained a Master’s degree in Family Therapy from the Family Institute of Philadelphia. He completed his psychoanalytic training from the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. Dr. Gogineni served as President of Philadelphia Psychiatric Society, Regional Counsel of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry of Eastern Pennsylvania, South Asian American Forum, and American Association for Social Psychiatry. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, The Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and a member of the American College of Psychiatrists. He has written and presented on various aspect s of fatherhood, attachment, revenge, adoption, immigration, depression, neurobiology, and gratitude.

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