In Leaps and Bounds: Psychic Development and its Facilitation in Treatment

Author(s) : Salman Akhtar

In Leaps and Bounds: Psychic Development and its Facilitation in Treatment

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : May 2022
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 206
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 96247
  • ISBN 13 : 9781912691913
  • ISBN 10 : 9781912691

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A tour de force from the inimitable Salman Akhtar. Dr Akhtar brings his encyclopaedic knowledge of psychoanalysis to present a deceptively simple guide to personality development across the full human life span. Two enjoyable and comprehensive essays cover infancy to adolescence and then young adulthood to old age. These are followed by an explication of the various ways such a deepened understanding can inform a clinician’s approach.

Salman Akhtar presents three rich essays brimming with psychoanalytic theory on personality development and how such knowledge enhances treatment.

Essay 1 starts at the earliest infancy and takes the reader all along the path past adolescence. It addresses key developmental landmarks, including:

-Establishing a satisfactory parental bond

-Moving towards autonomy and independence

-Acquiring a moral sense

-Consolidating identity.

Essay 2 picks up after adolescence. It addresses the psychosocial challenges characteristic of young adulthood, midlife, and old age, such as:

-Assuming the role of a wage-earner and “house-holder”

-Enjoying sex, love, and marriage

-Downsizing and retiring from one’s job

-Dealing with the deaths of friends and family and facing one’s own mortality.

Essay 3 builds upon the theory that has gone before and examines how a deepened understanding of psychic development can inform the clinician’s approach. With an emphasis on development as a lifelong process, this essay provides clear guidelines for facilitating such growth, including:

-Creating psychic space for thinking

-Helping the patient find words for inner experiences

-Validating the patient’s reality

- Enhancing the sense of personal agency in the patient.

The complex tapestry woven by these three essays is extended by a prologue and an epilogue. The prologue opens with the “pre-self” – events before birth that impact on who we become. The epilogue discusses the “post-self” – how we “live on” as memories held by those who knew us.

In Leaps and Bounds deepens the understanding of the nuances of human development. It is key reading for practising and trainee psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists to enhance their clinical practice. It is highly recommended for all enquiring minds looking to expand their knowledge of what makes us who we are.

Reviews and Endorsements

Salman Akhtar draws on four decades of experience as a doctor, poet, academic, immigrant, and psychoanalyst in a work of “sculpted creativity” that deepens our understanding of lifelong development and of development-facilitating interventions. This results in a culturally and linguistically sensitive book, which includes powerful poetry, for psychoanalytic, medical, and psychology students as well as for seasoned clinicians. Akhtar has unpacked the metapsychology of developmental help in the clearest exposition I have ever read.
Jennifer Davids, Supervising Child and Adolescent Psychoanalyst, British Psychoanalytical Society (BPaS); Adult, Child, and Adolescent Psychoanalyst, BPaS, IPA

Salman Akhtar provides us with a rich psychoanalytic exploration of development: from the prenatal period to old age. With an exquisite writing style, he integrates analytic concepts, developmental principles, and sociocultural forces. To highlight this work, he illustrates the theoretical principles with almost twenty clinical vignettes. This makes his book highly readable and useful for clinicians at all levels of experience.
Leon Hoffman, Co-Director, Pacella Research Center, New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute; Chief Psychiatrist, West End Day School

With a writing style that blends medical scholarship, psychoanalysis, poetry, and storytelling, In Leaps and Bounds takes us on an inspiring journey through life’s developmental seasons. It offers us a coherent and eminently useful set of “development-facilitating interventions” that enhance patients’ autonomy, validate subjectivity, create space for thinking, and provide words for the unmentalized sectors of inner experience. This is a striking addition to our therapeutic armamentarium!
Olga Santa María, Training and Supervising Analyst, APM, IPA President, Mexican Psychoanalytic Society

Despite Akhtar’s psychoanalytic grounding, the interventions are highly relevant to therapists of different modalities owing to their largely relational nature. I found his suggestions to be very thought-provoking in terms of attending to the relationship, and well illustrated by detailed and culturally diverse vignettes.
Emily Harrison, BACP Therapy Today

Table of Contents

About the author

Chapter One: The pre-self

Part I: Conceptual basis
Chapter Two: From infancy through childhood to the end of adolescence

Chapter Three: From young adulthood through midlife to old age

Part II: Clinical praxis
Chapter Four: Development facilitating interventions

Chapter Five: The post-self


About the Author(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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Delve deeper into the thinking behind In Leaps and Bounds with Dr Akhtar’s talk based on the book, in which he outlines ten different interventions intended to promote, unmask, and consolidate patients’ development. Get access to the full talk HERE; view a preview on our YouTube Channel.

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