In The Unconscious: A Contemporary Introduction, Joseph Newirth presents a critical and comparative analysis of the unconscious and its evolution from a positivist to a postmodern frame of reference.

This book presents five theories, each of which offers different and important conceptualizations of the unconscious, and each of which contains a rich palate of ideas through which to approach clinical work. These psychoanalytic theories are thought of as spokes on a wheel emanating from the center of Freud’s concept of the unconscious. In addition to presenting Freud’s development of the unconscious, Newirth includes discussions of Interpersonal/Relational psychoanalysis; developmental approaches to the unconscious, including Kohut, Winnicott, and Fonagy; Kleinian approaches to the unconscious; and linguistic theories of the unconscious including Matte Blanco and Lacan. The last chapter illustrates the use of contemporary psychoanalytic concepts in the clinical work with a contemporary patient. The book encourages a comparative view of psychoanalytic theory and technique and aims to move to a more useful, generalizable concept of the unconscious for the contemporary patient.

This book will be of great interest to psychoanalysts, psychologists, and anyone interested in the evolution and application of the unconscious as a concept.

Introduction: The Ego is not Master in its Own House  1. The Evolution of Freud's theories of the Unconscious  2. The Unconscious in Interpersonal and Relational Psychoanalysis  3. Developmental Perspectives on the Unconscious  4. Kleinian Perspectives on the Unconscious  5. Language, Metaphor and the Unconscious  6. The Unconscious and the Contemporary Subject