Jon MillsConundrums: A Critique of Contemporary Psychoanalysis

Routledge, 2011

by Tracy D. Morgan on December 19, 2012

Jon Mills

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In this interview, Canadian philosopher, psychologist, and psychoanalyst Jon Mills speaks with us about his book Conundrums: A Critique of Contemporary Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2011). In the book he discusses current tenets in North American psychoanalytic thinking and practice that he finds to be concerning and problematic. Focusing on the relational and intersubjective turn currently popular in the field, he articulates what he believes are the faulty ways in which some contemporary analytic thinkers make use of philosophy and, therein, particularly post-modernism.  Though relationally influenced himself, in that he is drawn towards a more flexible, less removed approach in the consulting room, he questions the denigration of the drives and what appears to be a seeming disinterest in life before the acquisition of language.  Mills wonders about the ways in which ideas associated with post-modernism and the practice of a psychoanalytic hermeneutics have been used to drum thinking about the body out of psychoanalysis and what impact that has on our clinical encounters.

In this interview the discussion ranges from the problem of therapeutic excess via analytic self-disclosure to the fate of the drives in relational and intersubjective thinking to the emphasis on meaning-making, and the role of philosophy in psychoanalysis. Also discussed are psychoanalytic politics, analytic training, and the relational critique of the analyst’s authority. While in this interview Dr. Mills asks some hard questions, particularly of the relational approach, and particularly its philosophical underpinnings, he does so gently and with great seriousness.

 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Jerry December 20, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Knowing Dr. Mills very well, I can say that his thinking is sharp and incisive and thorough. I’ve been at this business for 25 years, and he’s one of the authors who, when he speaks, I listen.

dirk December 19, 2012 at 9:03 am

if you are interested in an analyst/writer who understands the internal relationship between psychoanalysis and pomo philosophy (largely via Lacan) and is working to bring it up to date with modern science/materialism check out the work of Adrian Johnston: http://www.unm.edu/~thinker/faculty/johnston.html

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