Self-Agency in Psychotherapy
Attachment, Autonomy, and Intimacy
A discussion of the self, both in and out of therapy.
For each of us, our thoughts, beliefs, desires, expectations, and fantasies constitute our own sense of a unique identity.
Here, Jungian and relational psychoanalyst Jean Knox argues that this experience of self-agency is always at the heart
of psychological growth and development, and it follows a developmental trajectory that she examines in detail, from the
realm of bodily action and reaction in the first few months of life, through the emergence of different levels of agency, to
the mature expression of agency in language and metaphor.
Knox makes the case that the achievement of a secure sense of self-agency lies at the heart of any successful psychotherapy,
and argues for an updated psychoanalytic therapy rooted in a developmental and intersubjective approach.
Drawing on a range of therapeutic disciplines—including interpersonal neurobiology, attachment theory, and developmental
research—she proposes an integrated and flexible clinical approach that is based on the actual interpersonal
agency of analyst and patient, rather than any one specific theory about the human unconscious being imposed on the
patient by the analyst’s interpretations. Detailed clinical examples explore this approach.
Part of the Norton Series on
Interpersonal Neurobiology, Self-Agency in Psychotherapy deftly balances theory and practice, offering practical applications
for groundbreaking research on self-agency.
- December 2010
- 6.5 × 9.6 in
/ 256 pages
- Territory Rights: Worldwide
Endorsements & Reviews
“[B]oth far ranging and far reaching . . . . Knox's contribution is a sound and thought-provoking one, debunking both that theory "knows" what the patient must come to experience and that patients do not know their own minds. Her review and integration of a broad array of research are thorough yet focused.” — PsycCritiques
“This book will surely become a classic! It is a remarkable, groundbreaking, sweeping
synthesis of the best research available on the formation of the mind applied to the art of
psychotherapy. In masterly fashion, Knox not only takes the reader through the developmental
evolution of self-agency, but also manages to challenge and empower each of us
to claim the various levels of agency by which we live and work.” — Joe Cambray, PhD, President, International Association for Analytic Psychology
“Self-Agency in Psychotherapy is an amazing integration of developmental research and
neuroscience with clinical theory and practice. Knox has written a fascinating and important
book.” — Beatrice Beebe, PhD, Clinical Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, Columbia University
“Knox has given us gold. At once accessible and erudite, Self-Agency in Psychotherapy
points the way to new conceptions of mind and of interaction. Spanning far-ranging
literatures of psychoanalysis, neurobiology, infant research, and philosophy, Knox weaves
an argument that self-agency is at the nexus of cultural, bodily and psychic forces. This volume represents cutting-edge
interpersonal neurobiology, thought through the lens of a practicing analytic clinician.” — Bruce Reis, PhD, New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis