This new book by David Shapiro, author of the classic Neurotic Styles, throws light, from a clinical standpoint, on a subject of importance, both theoretically and for therapeutic practice, for psychoanalysts and psychotherapists, as well as for those with general interests in philosophy or psychology. A Psychodynamic View of Action and Responsibility explores the individual's experience of ownership or responsibility for what he or she does, says, and even believes, and their avoidance of that experience.
David Shapiro considers the self-deception necessary for these disclaimers of responsibility and the surrender of personal conviction and autonomous judgment. With numerous excerpts from therapeutic sessions, he shows these to be self-protective reactions forestalling or dispelling the anxiety of internal conflict and also, as in false confessions, external threat or intimidation. Shapiro presents this important thesis in his usual lucid way and in many contexts. Its recognition, in his view, is critical for therapeutic work. This book demonstrates the central place in psychological dynamics of the subjective sense of personal responsibility or ownership of what one says or does. The subject is nowhere treated with the depth and emphasis on subjective experience seen in these chapters.
A Psychodynamic View of Action and Responsibility will appeal to professionals and students of psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy, as well as clinical psychologists, CBT practitioners, philosophers, and legal scholars.