Reading this book immersed me in a "dialectic" of very mixed feelings. This is a really important book, mandatory reading for psychoanalysts, psychoanalytic psychotherapists, and anyone interested in the current state of psychoanalysis. Seven of the 10 chapters are reprints of earlier papers by Hoffman, and there is an excellent introductory chapter that should be read with care. The meat of the book, in my opinion, is to be found in chapters 3, 7, and 8, titled, respectively, "The Intimate and Ironic Authority of the Psychoanalyst’s Presence," "Expressive Participation and Psychoanalytic Discipline," and "Dialectical Thinking and Therapeutic Action in the Psychoanalytic Process." The book tracks Hoffman’s intellectual development from the earlier to the later papers, except for chapter 2, "Death Anxiety and Adaptation to Mortality in Psychoanalytic Theory," which I first thought was rather irrelevant to the rest of the text but does set up a theme that resurfaces in the final chapters.