This book introduces the insights of contemporary relational psychoanalysis to educational thought and uses them as the foundation for a comprehensive model for understanding and informing teaching and learning practice. The model integrates what we know about conscious thought, motivation, and the physical body and translates these understandings in ways that are meaningful and relevant to the circumstances of practicing teachers, school leaders, and teachers of teachers. It will be of great interest to them and to those educational scholars whose attentions turn to the exigencies of the current era.

Echoing calls for inclusivity, the book stands against admonishing anyone on the right way to be a person. Instead it emphasises understanding and, in understanding, practicing well. Readers will gain a deeper appreciation of the nature of sense-making and awareness and of the practical implications of cognition as embodied, life forms as non-linear dynamic systems, and relationships as core to human development and classroom life.

It was Einstein who, in a letter to Freud, once asked for an educational solution to the menace of war. Today’s urgencies – of nations divided, diminishing planetary resources, and certain ecological disasters – press for wisdom beyond our collective habit. Thankfully the once-elusive mysteries of life, mind, learning, and learning systems now yield in ways to help shape answers to Einstein’s question. Relational psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, educational theorists, teachers, and those who work with them will be intrigued by the convergences and heartened at the possibilities. 

chapter |4 pages


In which the author positions herself

part I|46 pages

The relational turn

chapter 1|8 pages

Distinguishing the Relational Perspective

chapter 2|11 pages

Psychoanalysis in Education

chapter 3|25 pages

Voices at Education’s Helm

part II|112 pages

A dialectic theory of learning

chapter 4|20 pages

Meaning-making and the Curricular Object

chapter 5|15 pages

Of Minds and Bodies

A few orienting tenets

chapter 6|25 pages

Becoming Self

Storied in relationality, steeped in affect

chapter 7|28 pages

Theorising Learning

Philosophies, understandings, and perspectives over the years

chapter 8|22 pages

Dialectics Arrested

On learning’s refusal

part III|117 pages

Into practice

chapter 9|15 pages

Capacity, Trust, and Meaning

chapter 10|28 pages

Rethinking Twenty-first-century Orthodoxy

chapter 11|10 pages

Classrooms as Holding Environments

chapter 12|31 pages

The Provision of Curricular Objects

Teaching for discernments that matter

chapter 13|26 pages

Selves and Witnesses

Teacher know your story

chapter |5 pages


Through angst and grace, in this together