Psychoanalytic Approaches to Forgiveness and Mental Health

Editor : Ronald Britton, Editor : Aleksandra Novakovic

Psychoanalytic Approaches to Forgiveness and Mental Health

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : August 2023
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 222
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 97325
  • ISBN 13 : 9781032427911
  • ISBN 10 : 1032427914

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Also by Aleksandra Novakovic

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Psychoanalytic Approaches to Forgiveness and Mental Health considers the role of forgiveness in mental life, concerning both forgiving and being forgiven.

Each chapter addresses concepts including superego, repetition compulsion, enactment, and notions such as sacrifice, penance, justification, absolution, and contrition. The contributors consider both their professional and clinical experience and their ethical, cultural, or philosophical background when considering aspects of forgiveness and its impact on clinical practice. The book is an attempt to open the subject of forgiveness, not to reach ethical conclusions nor to formulate pious psychological behavioural axioms. It also considers the weight of feeling unforgiven and of holding the lifelong resentment or vengeful wishes of the unforgiving.

Psychoanalytic Approaches to Forgiveness and Mental Health will be key reading for psychoanalysts and psychotherapists in practice and in training and for other professionals interested in the role of forgiveness in mental life. It will also be of interest to academics and students of psychoanalytic studies, philosophy and spirituality.

Reviews and Endorsements

This is profound book on a deep subject by an erudite and reflective group. Yes, forgiveness in the face of catastrophic loss and the vital role the capacity for it plays in all lives, gets to the heart of many questions in mental health. But as these authors show, it is a topic far wider – stretching into the deepest and most monstrous issues in our societies and their histories and to the deepest concerns of poets, novelists, philosophers, and theologians. It is hard to think of a better group of people to tackle the subject. And it is a very contemporary subject looking at the world today - particularly enlightened by new looks at the idea of the internal saboteur within each of us and the hardened myths and repetitive behaviours it threatens. Very strongly recommended to all with an interest in the human condition.
Professor David Tuckett, Department of Science, Technology and Public Policy, University College London, Fellow, Institute of Psychoanalysis, London

The central role of forgiveness in psychic life is attested by this fine book and underlined throughout the various authors’ inspiring chapters. Ronald Britton suggests that what feels unforgiven or unforgiveable arises from the internalization of unforgiving internal objects. With chapters ranging from deep reflections on the clinic to analyses of works of literature, religion, and music, as well as a chapter on the Holocaust, this skilfully edited and important book is full of gems and illuminating insights.
Rosine Perelberg is a Training and Supervising Analyst, and Past President of the British Psychoanalytical Society. She has written and edited several books, including Sexuality, Excess and Representation

Britton and Novakovic have, in this most stimulating collection of contributions, put ‘Forgiveness’ at the center of the psychoanalytic spotlight. This is most appropriate in the current climate where forgiveness is often overshadowed by pressure from grievance and revenge. Forgiveness is considered in individual, interpersonal, institutional, and societal contexts and includes illustrations in literature and music. An important theme is Sodre’s view that ‘nobody who has not felt forgiven can expect to forgive’ indicating the necessity for kindness towards the self from one’s internal objects.
Dr. David Simpson, FRCPsych., Former President British Psychoanalytic Association

Table of Contents

About the Editors and Contributors

Chapter 1: The lost good object regained: Coexisting pars of self and the generosity of forgiveness
Aleksandra Novakovic

Chapter 2: Forgiving as malice relented: the depressive position in action
Chris Mawson

Chapter 3: The developmental importance of forgiveness and compassion: In psychoanalysis and Buddhism
Hiroshi Amino

Chapter 4: Revenge or Forgiveness: the Oresteia
Ronald Britton

Chapter 5: Cry Havoc and Reconciliation
David Millar

Chapter 6: Revenge And Resentment In The ‘Oedipus Situation’
John Steiner

Chapter 7: She waited, Kate Croy… Forgiveness in Henry James’ "The Wings of the Dove": the Villain’s Tragedy
Ignês Sodré

Chapter 8: Contessa perdono! Mozartian sexual betrayal and forgiveness
Francis Grier

Chapter 9: Forgiveness Work in Society, Institutions and Large Groups
Gerhard Wilke

Chapter 10: Forgiveness in the Recognition of Actuality
Karl Figlio

Chapter 11: In the grip of un-forgiveness: Some notes on forgiveness and orientation from a German background
Claudia Frank

Chapter 12: The Unforgiving Self
Ronald Britton

About the Editor(s)

Ronald Britton is a well-known international psychoanalytic writer who has lectured widely in Europe and North and South America. He is a former President of the British Psychoanalytical Society and a Vice-President of the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA). He has a predominantly clinical approach but also a special interest in the relationship of psychoanalysis to literature, philosophy and theology. He was given the IPA Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement in 2013 and the Sigourney Award for Outstanding Psychoanalytic Contributions in 2014.

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Aleksandra Novakovic is a couple psychoanalytic psychotherapist and a psychoanalyst. She was Joint Head of the Inpatient & Community Psychology Service and a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in the Adult Mental Health Psychology Service. She worked at the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships and taught and supervised on the Couple Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training. She teaches for the British Psychoanalytic Association and supervises on the Reflective Practice in Organizations Course, Institute of Group Analysis. She co-edited (with David Bell), Living on the Border: Psychotic Processes in the Individual, the Couple and the Group (2013).

More titles by Aleksandra Novakovic

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