Paul Wachtel (USA)
Cyclical Psychodynamics and the Contextual Self articulates in new ways the essential features and most recent extensions of Paul Watchtel’s powerfully integrative theory of cyclical psychodynamics. Wachtel is widely regarded as the leading advocate for integrative thinking in personality theory and the theory and practice of psychotherapy. He is a contributor to cutting edge thought in the realm of relational psychoanalysis and to highlighting the ways in which the relational point of view provides especially fertile ground for integrating psychoanalytic insights with the ideas and methods of other theoretical and therapeutic orientations.
In this book, Wachtel extends his integration of psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioral, systemic, and experiential viewpoints to examine closely the nature of the inner world of subjectivity, its relation to the transactional world of daily life experiences, and the impact on both the larger social and cultural forces that both shape and are shaped by individual experience. Here, he discusses in a uniquely comprehensive fashion the subtleties of the clinical interaction, the findings of systematic research, and the role of social, economic, and historical forces in our lives. The chapters in this book help to transcend the tunnel vision that can lead therapists of different orientations to ignore the important discoveries and innovations from competing approaches.
“For nearly four decades Paul Wachtel has been one of the great integrative thinkers in the field of psychotherapy. In Cyclical Psychodynamics and the Contextual Self he has really outdone himself! Wachtel applies his cyclical psychodynamic perspective breathtakingly to a wide range of clinically central issues, including the importance of the larger social and cultural context. A must read!”
— Robert D. Stolorow, PhD, author of World, Affectivity, Trauma: Heidegger and Post- Cartesian Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2011)
“Paul Wachtel’s cyclical psychodynamic theory may be the most important integrative theory of psychotherapy, bringing together a dizzying array of diverse literatures. Wachtel’s range is astonishing, but he doesn’t stop with mere comprehension. Even more interesting and significant than Wachtel’s grasp is his capacity to bring all these theories into meaningful relation with one another.”
— Donnel B. Stern, PhD
“Paul Wachtel is in the vanguard of a group of seminal thinkers who are shaping what might be seen as the entrance of psychoanalysis into its ‘relational era.’ This book makes it even clearer why Wachtel’s integrative theory of cyclical psychodynamics is acknowledged within and beyond the field of psychoanalysis as such a unique and powerful force in the ongoing evolution of personality theory and psychotherapy. Wachtel has written both a theoretical tour de force and an immensely practical guide to clinical practice.”
— Phillip Bromberg
For more details, or to request a review copy, please visit