The eight stories in The Making of A Psychoanalyst: Studies in Emotional Education (Routledge, 2018) are composites of clinical material highlighting familiar emotional conflicts found in treatment. Dr. Claudia Luiz invites the reader into session with her as she demonstrates “how two human beings interact with each other to effect profound change.” Chapters do not start with reviews of theory and literature. They begin with patients. We are confronted with who they are, what they want, and their emotional impact on Dr. Luiz. We feel the immediacy of the patient’s needs and the pressures to fix something. We encounter Dr. Luiz, not as theorist looking for strategies, but as a clinician looking for “what might be required of her as a practitioner.” The dialogue between Dr Luiz and her patients is punctuated by endnotes where she shares the theories integrated into the chapter. Placing theories at the end of the chapter is an effective way of teaching because we’ve had the experience of being with the case as it unfolds. Working from a modern psychoanalytic approach Dr. Luiz believes “the function of interpretation with its corollary penchant for insight is completely antiquated.” The job of the modern psychoanalyst is“to prepare our patients’ minds for self-discovery.”
Dr. Luiz is the first-place winner of the 2006 Phyllis W. Meadow Award for Excellence in Psychoanalytic Writing (published in the journal Modern Psychoanalysis) and first place winner of the 2008 Reader’s Digest Best Writer’s Website Award. And her essay “Catrina learns to breathe” is nominated this year for a NAAPGradiva Award. Dr Luiz is on the faculty of the Academy for Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis in Livingston, New Jersey, and has a private practice in New York City and Tarrytown, NY. She was last on the program in 2014 with her book Where’s My Sanity? Stories That Help.
Christopher Russell is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Chelsea, Manhattan.