New Introductory Textbook in Psychoanalysis

“Dr. Luiz blasts through jargon and rhetoric, introducing   Psychoanalysis in the 21st Century…”

Psychoanalytic Theory and Clinical Method for Students

About the Book

This is a book of stories illuminating the theoretical and clinical innovations that have revolutionized psychoanalysis.


  • Why psychoanalysis is more relevant today than ever before.
  • How we move people into consciousness who fundamentally don’t want to know themselves.
  • The purpose in actual practice of knowing theories of the mind. 
  • How our own emotions can become instruments for delving deeper into another person’s consciousness.
  • How classical methodology, including interpretation, has been replaced by “emotional communication”– and how these new interventions are designed.


Catrina Learns to Breathe.

Fundamentals in psychoanalysis.

I could hardly believe it. I mean, Catrina was the leading lady, starring in the role of “Mrs. Absolutely Perfectly Wonderful” in my life. The one, I thought, who had it all. I had probably studied her from every angle, taking in lateral, posterior and bi-vertical profiles. Why was she calling me for an appointment?

In her worst moments, Catrina explained she had always recited promises to herself that actually sounded a lot like prayers. Reviewing her prayers right after she woke up, she hadn’t felt uplifted though. She stepped outside to breathe in some fresh air and invoke the goodness of life, raising her head to the sun, but nothing penetrated. In fact, trying to relax made her feel worse. 

The problem facing 21st century psychoanalysis is this: We can no longer expect our patients to have the capacity to think rationally and respond positively to traditional methods. The character of Catrina is a perfect testament to the difficulty: here we have a stunning and accomplished woman – psychologically sophisticated, brilliant, and self-aware – and yet, completely under the spell of unconscious processes that could not be touched by interpretations, ideas or advice alone.  

In this section, students are introduced the the prevailing theories of the mind driving treatment, as well as how patients are gradually helped to unfold in a powerful process of self-discovery.

John J and the Big Surrender:
Psychoanalysis today

There he sat, this champion of a man, a small pot belly emerging from his pale grey, wrinkled suit.  I didn’t want to help him become a better man at the bank; I wanted to help him go back to the farm to get built up again. Have some fun. Tell it like it is.

“But I can’t go back there,” he said.  “I don’t want to be the kind of guy that rides his motorcycle over the hills all day with his buddies, drinking vodka for breakfast. I’ve worked real hard to get here. I want to move forward.”

“John J,” I said, “why don’t you lie down on the couch here and tell me the story of your life – it helps me get into things a little better.” “Nah,” he said with a slow drawl, “I’m good.” And with that he drew himself up for a casual stretch that became completely awkward since he couldn’t quite execute it. I should have known that John J wouldn’t take the couch; what was I thinking? I had completely forgotten who I was talking to. This man was not yet ready for that level of surrender…

In this chapter, students learn how patients are helped to move into a deeper therapeutic experience.

Sylvie Spider: Learning the Code of Emotion

Some children in my office terrify me. Others depress me. Some can really annoy me, and still others arouse in me the desire to take them into my arms and initiate adoption procedures. But this one, Sylvie…was definitely making me feel dizzy.

Countertransference (the thoughts and emotions aroused in the analyst) was once considered an obstacle to analytic neutrality and objectivity. But now, it is regarded as the most powerful instrument both for diagnosis and the design of effective interventions. In “The Making of a Psychoanalyst,” readers learn how that instrument is honed.

Lessons about Psychoanalysis inside “The Making of a Psychoanalyst.”


1. How leading theories of the mind perpetually inform treatment, including: object relations, drive theory, conflict theory, ego psychology, structural theory, and more.
2. The recent innovations in clinical method, including theory about what drives the design and implementation of effective interventions
3. The psychoanalyst’s use of “emotional communication,” as a means of intervening effectively with patients


1. “Following the contact”: the leading technique for working with resistance
2. New frontiers in “therapeutic action,” the study of emotional transformation
3. How today’s psychoanalysts leverage their own emotions in treatment
4. “Emotional Communication” and the design and implementation of effective clinical interventions


1. How psychoanalysts become trained to use their own emotions in clinical practice
2. How contamination of the analyst’s unresolved subjective dynamics are controlled for in training and practice
3. How psychoanalysts currently work with couples and families
4. How psychoanalysis is poised to address the current global epidemic of mental illness


1. Glossary of psychoanalyst terms and current usage, italicized in the text for reference
2. Index of concepts and terms
3. Lessons organized by essays highlighting the specific theoretical and clinical innovations in the past half-century

Q&A with Routledge Press 

Claudia Luiz on Why Psychoanalysis is Still Relevant

In honor of the publication of The Making of a Psychoanalyst, we spoke to author Claudia Luiz about what makes psychoanalysis relevant today—perhaps more than ever. 

Congratulations on the publication of your new book, The Making of a Psychoanalyst. As you observe in the introduction, people are “more emotionally sophisticated than ever. More aware of their feelings. More attuned and able to face their problems unabashedly, courageously, and without reservation.” How has psychoanalysis evolved to meet the needs of the contemporary patient, and why is it still relevant today, more than a century after its foundation in a very different time and place?

Years ago psychoanalysis was mostly about giving people interpretations and insights. That proved to be ineffectual. Now, the good news is, we’ve had 50 years to figure out new ways to engage and truly influence patient’s emotions. As an example, I write about how I treated an anxious, depressed woman who was driving herself to ruin with perfectionism. That’s the first story in the book and there you’ll discover how “emotional communication” has effectively replaced giving patients antiquated interpretations in today’s psychoanalysis. Then, in each subsequent story, readers can experience the gradual unfolding of all the major discoveries and innovations in clinical theory and method that are revolutionizing psychoanalysis.

Now, I know that “mindfulness” and Cognitive Behavior Therapy are also popular treatment modalities these days. But I think these methods are likely to end up hitting the same brick wall we analysts did, years ago, back when our antiquated, over intellectualized methods proved ineffectual against people’s resistances to getting better. That’s why I believe psychoanalysts are now a bit ahead of the game. We’ve learned how to get in there and work with the resistance. This makes psychoanalysis perhaps the only discipline relevant to adequately meeting the need for people to change in an emotionally awakened, motivated, but still unconscious society.

You use a series of “stories” to explain the practice of psychoanalysis today. Though inspired by patients and people you know, the stories are fictional. How and why did you decide that storytelling would be the best way to explain the complexities of psychoanalysis?

Make no mistake, the transformative interventions and the therapeutic action in the stories are all very real. It was just a lot easier for me to condense 30 years of marvelous, unforgettable session moments into six or seven characters.

The “how” is that I wrote these stories in very close collaboration with Keith Talbot, a seasoned TV and radio producer. I can boast winning a couple of prestigious awards for my work, but Keith has won seven, including a Peabody; he taught me exactly how to balance the right amount of tension with the right amount of dopamine for an audience. It is completely thanks to him that the intricate complexities of psychoanalysis have been rendered so accessible in this work.

The book is primarily concerned with strategies to help patients better know and understand their unconscious. However, it is also very much about your own growth as a person and analyst. What have you learned about yourself through your work?

Well, we basically all learn the same thing about ourselves in analysis: our deepest, darkest secrets. That much has never changed. And let me tell you, it’s not always easy. Especially recently, since I have been in analysis for almost 40 years, I have been exploring some really deep aspects of my consciousness that are not easy to bear. Thank God I have magnificent analysts that can help me know how to be there. What I’ve learned is that the rewards of getting to know yourself are truly incredible. I had to write about some of that. You see, when you can get to know yourself there is just so much less to be afraid of.

National Psychotherapy Day is coming up on September 25th, which is a day dedicated to increasing awareness of the benefits of psychotherapy and reducing stigma. What advice do you have for people who may want to try psychoanalysis or psychotherapy and aren’t sure where to begin or what to expect?

I was in a supermarket the other day when I saw a button that read: “Everybody is normal until you get to know them.” In other words, we truly are enjoying a less stigmatized “normal.” To prepare yourself for psychotherapy you might begin by reading my stories to see what helps people open up, and to know what you should expect from your own therapist. Look for someone who has had a lot of their own therapy — anyone with a “P” designation on a list at the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (NAAP) is a graduate of a psychoanalytic institute who has met an educational requirement of 400 hours of personal analysis (7 years.) This will protect you from getting into treatment with someone who could contaminate it with their own unresolved issues. The Society of Modern Psychoanalysis (SMP) has another good list. 

So, what should you expect from therapy? Deep and lasting emotional change. That much hasn’t changed over the past century. Only now, I think we’ve also figured out how to best prepare your mind for self-discovery.