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The Processes of Defense Trauma, Drives, and Reality A New Synthesis by Joseph Fernando

The Processes of Defense Trauma, Drives, and Reality A New Synthesis


The Processes of Defense Trauma, Drives, and Reality A New Synthesis by Joseph Fernando

In this direct and scholarly book, Dr. Joseph Fernando provides the first in-depth exploration and up-to-date revision of the psychoanalytic theory of defenses since Anna Freud's 1936 classic, The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense. While comprehensive and authoritative, the work is also highly original and clinically relevant, as new concepts such as the zero process and contrast defenses are introduced, illustrated, and explained.


Putting aside the theoretical fads that plague our field, Joseph Fernando returns to the nitty-gritty of the clinical process. Bringing a thorough study of psychoanalytic literature to bear upon the fundamental issues of therapeutic process and technique, Fernando evolves an integrated perspective on the ego's defensive activity and its resolution by the means of interpretation. His triad of attentional, counterforce, and zero process defenses helps us see in a fresh light what the patient says, what remains unspoken, how we respond to both of these, and why certain interventions unlock the doors of painful memories. Solidly grounded in theory and yet unabashedly helpful in fine-tuning technique, Fernando's book will go a long way in enhancing the skills of any psychotherapist! -- Salman Akhtar, MD, is professor of psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College and training and supervising analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It has been a long time since the basic psychoanalytic theory of defense as Anna Freud articulated it in The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense has received a thorough review by anyone other than Anna Freud herself. Joseph Fernando has now offered us not only a review but a reconsideration and an effort at re-envisioning, re-systematizing. Like all the important contributions to psychoanalytic theory, his book is both conservative and revolutionary-in his case, more the former than the latter-and on both frequencies, provocative. -- Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Haverford College; author of Anna Freud: A Biography Any experienced psychoanalytic clinician reading The Processes of Defense cannot but be impressed by the far-reaching nature of its contents. ...[T]he integration of theoretical and clinical work is masterful, and the detailed examination of defensive processes goes well beyond what clinicians ordinarily address in their daily psychoanalytic sessions. ...[T]his is a major contribution to the field of psychoanalysis, which I believe will have considerable impact on our thinking for years to come. Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis

About the Author

Dr. Joseph Fernando teaches clinical and theoretical classes in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis at the Toronto Psychoanalytic Society and the Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis, where he is also a training and supervising analyst. He has had a full-time practice in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy for over 20 years.

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Book Info

Publication date

23rd November 2011


Joseph Fernando

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Jason Aronson Inc. Publishers


362 pages


The self, ego, identity, personality



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