Psychoanalytic Approaches to Problems in Living examines how psychoanalysts can draw on their training, reading, and clinical experience to help their patients address some of the recurrent challenges of everyday life. Sandra Buechler offers clinicians poetic, psychoanalytic, and experiential approaches to problems, drawing on her personal and clinical experience, as well as ideas from her reading, to confront challenges familiar to us all.
Buechler addresses issues including difficulties of mourning, aging, living with uncertainty, finding meaningful work, transcending pride, bearing helplessness, and forgiving life’s hardships. For those contemplating a clinical career, and those in its beginning stages, she suggests ways to prepare to face these quandaries in treatment sessions. More experienced practitioners will find echoes of themes that have run through their own clinical and personal life experiences. The chapters demonstrate that insights from a poem can often guide the clinician as well as concepts garnered from psychoanalytic theory and other sources. Buechler puts her questions to T. S. Eliot, Rainer Maria Rilke, Elizabeth Bishop, W. S. Merwin, Stanley Kunitz and many other poets and fiction writers. She “asks” Sharon Olds how to meet emergencies, Erich Fromm how to live vigorously, and Edith Wharton how to age gracefully, and brings their insights to bear as she addresses challenges that make frequent appearances in clinical sessions, and other walks of life.
With a final section designed to improve training in the light of her practical findings, Psychoanalytic Approaches to Problems in Living is an essential book for all practicing psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists.