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Unformulated Experience: From Dissociation to Imagination in Psychoanalysis (Relational Perspectives Book Series) Hardcover – December 1, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0881631418 ISBN-10: 0881631418 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Series: Relational Perspectives Book Series (Book 8)
  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (December 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881631418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881631418
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,533,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Unformulated Experience is not the usual pastiche of poststructuralist and hermeneutical theories stuck onto psychoanalysis like so many bandaids.  Stern has evoked a magisterial, coherent theoretical frame of reference that places psychoanalysis (particularly post-Sullivanian interpersonalism) firmly within the postmodern critique of language; and he elaborates with great clarity and wonderfully frank vignettes the clinical implications of this position for contemporary psychoanalysis.  The book will surely find its audience among those interested in psychoanalytic theory and practice.  Even the most pragmatic clinician will find its clinical implications clarifying and useful.  Unformulated Experience is a major contribution."  - Edgar Levenson, M.D., William Alanson White Institute

"Unformulated Experience is a book of complexity, courage, and verve.  Donnel Stern combines Gadamer's hermeneutics and Sullivan'e interpersonal psychoanalysis in a move that separates him from the crowd of theorists who claim to integrate postmodern theory with psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.  By doing so, he is able to guide us in confronting, understanding, and treating some of the most puzzling phenomena in the field today, such as trauma, dissociation, and multiplicity.  Our ideas about memory, language, and the self will never be the same after this book - neither will our therapeutic practices nor our individual lives.  At long last, our profession has produced a book worthy of being linked with the best of modern hermeneutic thought.  Savor it." - Philip Cushman, Ph.D., author, Constructing the Self, Constructing America

"Donnel Stern tackles issues that so often fall in the seams of psychoanalytic thought.  What kind of intentionality is there in the act of verbalization; in using one set of words rather than another; in actively but unconsciously avoiding certain sets of words, and with them, certain meanings?  To answer these and other challenging questions, Stern skillfully weaves together an extraordinary tapestry of ideas, drawing on philosophy, literature, psychoanalytic theory, and a rich array of clinical experiences.  For its brilliant illumination of issues that are fundamental to all clinical theory, and for its cogent, systematic development of the author's own constructivist viewpoint, imaginatively applied to the psychoanalytic situation, I believe this book will emerge as a landmark contribution to the field." - Irwin Z. Hoffman, Ph.D., Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis

About the Author

Donnel Stern, Ph.D., is Training and Supervising Analyst, William Alanson White Institute, and Faculty, NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis.  He is on the editorial boards of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Psychoanalytic Inquiry and Psychoanalytic Psychology, and is the former editor of Contemporary Psychoanalysis. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful By whomi on June 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Stern has created an amazing, breathtaking, thorough, and convincing reinterpretation of the unconscious and the phenomena associated with it. He brings a deeply assimilated knowledge of Gadamer, James, Merleau-Ponty and other hermeneutic and phenomenological thinkers to bear on the perennial problem of unconsciousness. Although the first chapter of this book is a bit turgid, Stern soon gets in his groove and before one knows it is radically, joltingly, and astoundingly shifting one's root ways of understanding the unconscious. Stern moves the locus of the psychoanalytic unconscious from the realm of actuality to that of possibility, showing how motivated unconsciousness is not so much the elimination of an actual experience from consciousness as it is the shutting down of particular possibilities of experiencing. Unlike other phenomenological thinkers who have suggested this (May, Boss, etc.) Stern actually works out in a very meticulous and careful way how and why this sort of "shutdown" can happen. He clearly shows how our experience of possibilities is every bit as psychologically important- if not more so- as is our experience of actualities. And when we recognize this, our whole conception of psychoanalysis and the unconscious is turned upside-down! This book is a must read for all those interested in psychology and psychoanalysis. It is able to explain all those nagging, ambiguous, contradictory things about the unconscious that keep you awake late at night.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By mahipal on June 24, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wholeheartedly agree with what has been said so far about this book.
Here is an intensely intelligent author who takes us in a meticulously detailed way into those hidden inner processes that need to be formulated if we want to escape the pull of the past and life our full potential.
He has a gift to translate european hermeneutic theory (that seems almost to be formulated NOT to be understood) into a concrete common sense language.
The result is a potent package designed to bring you a few steps further along the way in understanding yourself. And as Gadamer seems to have said: Understanding is ultimately always understanding YOURSELF.
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