[Note: The Parkmore Institute has asked several of its Faculty to contribute lists of 10 or 12 books that they consider essential reading in their field. This first contribution comes from Professor Jerry Gargiulo, who is himself the author of several important and award-winning books on psychoanalysis. In formulating this list, he was deliberately asked not to include exclude the writings of Freud and Klein, and to take them as if they had been “already read”]
Dr Gargiulo writes: “After forty five years of psychoanalytic practice, it is not a particularly easy task to pick out ten books that I believe are singularly important for anyone wishing to understand psychoanalysis ‑‑‑ as a theory of the mind, a cultural critique and a therapeutic practice. I will inevitably leave out some essential texts out (e.g., the works of Sándor Ferenczi and Otto Fenichel). I read many of the books I have listed many years ago. Yet they were formative of my thinking in a foundational way.”
Ernest Becker … The Denial of Death
It has been many years since I read this text and yet the reality of his thesis and the need humans have to both deny death and to accept the reality of death, if they are going to live a full life, constantly reverberates within me. This text is essential reading for anyone wishing to know the human condition both in our desires and our denials.
Norman O. Brown … Love’s Body
This is basically a philosophical text reflecting on the human condition – body and soul – mind and matter ‑‑‑ and as such stimulated my thinking ‑‑‑ from a psychoanalytic, spiritual and philosophical perspective. Actually his prior text Life Against Death (the psychoanalytic meaning of history) is a necessary prelude ‑‑‑ both texts should be ready together. Psychoanalysis is equally a critique of as well as a new model by which to encounter culture.
Eric Erikson … Childhood and Society
Erickson addresses the need to recognize the full range of developmental stages of human experience. Early psychoanalytic thought focused on early events of life. Erikson counterbalances that approach. His appreciation of the social influences on human development is an essential complement to classical theory.
Herbert Fingarette … The Self in Transformation
What I mentioned about Brown’s work is even applicable with this text. This is a masterful synthesis and discussion of philosophy, psychoanalysis, Eastern thought (Hindu and Buddhist) and is a deeply engaging inquiry into the human condition and its many desires.
George Makari … Revolution in Mind
Makari situates the beginning of psychoanalysis within the cultural and educational world in which Freud lived; he critically examinessuchinfluencesand examines how they contributed to Freud’s thinking. Both a psychoanalyst and historian Makari re-creates the vitality of the early psychoanalytic movement – both in the major players as well as the developing theory.I found this text informative and very enjoyable.
Theodore Reik … Listening with the Third Ear
This is a masterful text that shows how we humans are connected to each other and how, by being attuned to our deepestlevels, a person isbetter able to know him or herself. Reik’s use of the unconscious and its availability as the major avenue of working with patients was in strong contrast to the technical rigidity that was poplar at the time he wrote. It is still an essential text to read for anyone wishing to understand psychoanalysis.
Paul Ricoeur … Freud and Philosophy
Freud is more fully appreciated when one knows the philosophical currents and traditions from which he benefited as well as contributed to. Ricoeur reads Freud’s thought through the lens of a philosopher and thereby offers the reader a non-clinical framework for engaging Freud.
François Roustang … Dire Mastery
This work is a study in discipleship within the Freudian and Lacanian schools. Roustang discusses the damage of collecting disciplines and perpetuating the student/master relationship. Discipleship hinders originality and creativity ‑‑‑ unfortunately psychoanalysis still suffers from such a mindset in the perpetuation of its many different schools.
Donald W. Winnicott … The Maturational Process and the Facilitating Environment
The collected essays in this text almost defy summation; they present DWW’s major contributions to understanding the human condition, child development and productive therapeutic intervention.
Donald W. Winnicott … Playing and Reality
All of Winnicott’s writings are basic to appreciating both the human growth process as well as the delicacy of intervening to help that growth process. I sometimes refer to this text as DWW’s final will and testament.