Living on the Border: Psychotic Processes in the Individual, the Couple, and the Group

Bell, D (ed.) and Novakovic, A. 2013.  Karnac.

This book centres on the problem of psychosis, understood from a psychoanalytic perspective, as it manifests itself in different contexts and different levels of organisation: from the individual psychoanalytic session, through work with couples, groups and institutions and wider levels of social organisation. Beginning with a discussion of the psychoanalytic apporach to psychosis centring on the work of Freud, Klein and the Post-Kleinians, it goes on to cover individual, couple and group therapy with psychotic patients. It draws on clinical material and theoretical discussion to explore the links between psychotic processes on different levels. This work is aimed at different professionals working within the psychodynamic frame of reference: individual psychotherapists, couple and family and group psychotherapists; organisational consultants and trainees in different therapies. As well as this it will be a useful resource to nurses, doctors and social workers who work with very disturbed patients and wish to learn about psychotic processes.

‘A comprehensive exploration of some of the most puzzling and intransigent mental states that clinicians encounter ; “Ground breaking” is often an over-used and clichéd term, …but in the case of this book, it constitutes a fair description, one most unusual in the professional literature hitherto.’
– Margot Waddell, author of Inside Lives: Psychoanalysis and the Growth of the Personality

‘A wide ranging collection showing the immense value of a psychoanalytic approach to severe psychological disorder- Never could a need for a book like this be more urgent than at our current juncture.’
– John Steiner, author of Psychic Retreats: Pathological Organisations in Psychotic, Neurotic and Borderline Patients and Seeing and Being Seen: Emerging from a Psychic Retreat

The psychoanalytic approach to the treatment of psychotic patients – Hanna Segal
Reflections on “meaning” and “meaninglessness” in post-Kleinian thought – Margot Waddell
Rigidity and stability in a psychotic patient: some thoughts about obstacles to facing reality in psychotherapy – Margaret Rustin
Forms of “folie-à-deux” in the couple relationship – James Fisher
Psychotic and depressive processes in couple functioning – Francis Grier
The Frozen Man: further reflections on glacial times – Salomon Resnik
Psychotic processes: a group perspective – Aleksandra Novakovic
Psychotic processes in large groups – Caroline Garland
A community meeting on an acute psychiatric ward: observation and commentaries:
Ward observation: Commentary I – David Kennard; Commentary II – Julian Lousada; Commentary III – Mary Morgan; Commentary IV – Wilhelm Skogstad
Asylum and society – Elizabeth Bott Spillius
Schizophrenia, meaninglessness, and professional stress – R.D. Hinshelwood
Brilliant stupidity: madness in organizational life – a perspective from organizational consultancy – Tim Dartington
The dynamics of containment – David Bell

Notes about the author(s):
David Bell is a Consultant Psychiatrist at the Tavistock Clinic in London, where he directs the Fitzjohn’s Unit, a specialist service for serious/complex psychological disorders. He is visiting Professorial Fellow, Birkbeck College, London and past President of the British Psychoanalytical Society. Throughout his career he has been deeply involved in the relation between psychoanalysis and literature, philosophy and politics, and has made numerous contributions in these areas. He is one of the UK’s leading psychiatric experts in asylum/human rights. He is contributing editor of Reason and Passion and Psychoanalysis and Culture: A Kleinian Perspective.

Aleksandra Novakovic is a group analyst and psychoanalyst and is a member of the London Institute of Group Analysis and the British Psychoanalytic Association. She was Joint Head of the Inpatient & Community Psychology Service, Barnet, Enfield & Haringey Mental Health Trust. She worked with patients with severe and complex mental health problems and facilitated staff groups for inpatient and community mental health staff teams. She is currently working in the Complex Care Services, St Ann’s Hospital, and is a Visiting Clinical Lecturer at the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships.