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Tickle a child, and she peals with laughter. Go on too long, and her laughter is sure to turn to tears. Where is that ticklish line between pleasure and pain? Why do we risk its being crossed? Does psychoanalysis possess the language to talk about such an extraordinary ordinary thing? In a style that is writerly and audacious, Adam Phillips takes up this subject and others largely overlooked by psychoanalysis - kissing, worrying, risk, solitude, and composure. He writes about phobias as a kind of theory, a form of protection against curiosity; about analysis as a patient's way of reconstituting solitude; about "good-enough" mothering as the antithesis of "bad-enough" imperialism; about psychoanalysis as an attempt to cure idolatry through idolatry; and even about farting as it relates to worrying. Psychoanalysis began as a virtuoso improvisation within the science of medicine, but virtuosity has given way to the dream of science that only the examined life is worth living. Phillips shows that the drive to omniscience has been unfortunate both for psychoanalysis and for life. On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored is a set of meditations on underinvestigated themes in psyochoanalysis that shows how much one's psychic health depends on establishing a realm of life that successfully resists examination.

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