In psychoanalysis, enlivenment is seen as residing in a sense of self, and this sense of self is drawn from and shaped by lived experience. Enlivening the Self: The First Year, Clinical Enrichment, and the Wandering Mind describes the vitalizing and enrichment of self-experience throughout the life cycle and shows how active experience draws on many fundamental functional capacities, and these capacities come together in support of systems of motivation; that is, organized dynamic grouping of affects, intentions, and goals.
The book is divided into three essays:
Infancy – Joseph Lichtenberg presents extensive reviews of observation and research on the first year of life. Based on these reviews, he delineates twelve foundational qualities and capacities of the self as a doer doing, initiating and responding, activating and taking in.
Exploratory therapy – James L. Fosshage looks where therapeutic change is entwined with development. There are many sources illustrated for enhancing the sense of self, and Frank M. Lachmann pays particular attention to humor and to the role that the twelve qualities and capacities play in the therapeutic process.
The wandering mind – Frank M. Lachmann covers the neuroscience and observation that "mind wandering" is related to the immediacy of the sense of self linking now with past and future.
Throughout the book the authors’ arguments are illustrated with rich clinical vignettes and suggestions for clinical practice. This title will be a must for psychoanalysts, including trainees in psychoanalysis, psychiatry residents and candidates at psychoanalytic institutes and also graduate students in clinical and counselling psychology programs.