The Emergence of Analytic Oneness is a profound and penetrating exploration of a fundamental dimension of analytic presence and patient–analyst interconnectedness that offers new possibilities for extending the reach of psychoanalytic treatment and working with some of the most difficult treatment situations.
Eshel listens with a ‘hearing heart’ and gives herself over to being within the patient’s experiential world and the grip of the unfolding analytic process. She has gone with her patients into black holes, dissociation, deadness, sleepiness, petrifaction, silence, longings, the depths of perversion, and the enigmas of telepathic dreams, while experiencing the emergence of patient–analyst two-in-oneness, with its challenges and mysteries. Drawing on Winnicott’s posthumous writings and Bion’s late work and going beyond recent analytic notions of intersubjectivity and witnessing to interconnectedness and ‘withnessing,’ Eshel offers her own understanding of at-one-ment or “being-in-oneness” with the patient’s emotional reality as the only state of analytic being that can meet and transform core unthinkable breakdown and mental catastrophe. The critical question here is to what extent the analyst is willing and able to open the boundaries of his or her psyche to the patient, especially in difficult, unbearable and devastated-devastating states.
Eshel’s clinical narratives are detailed, intense, theoretically grounded, and very moving. The Emergence of Analytic Oneness will be an invaluable guide for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, and students in these fields who want to extend their reach into deeper levels of disturbance in the difficult clinical work they do.