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Fancher, E. (1995). Integration And Self Healing: Affect—Trauma—Alexithymia. Henry Krystal. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1988, 383 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 82(4):644-647.

(1995). Psychoanalytic Review, 82(4):644-647

Integration And Self Healing: Affect—Trauma—Alexithymia. Henry Krystal. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1988, 383 pp.

Review by:
Edwin Fancher

This book is a dedicated attempt to present a special view of affect theory and trauma, and integrate these concepts into an understanding of alexithymia. The author is a psychoanalyst who is also a professor of psychiatry at Michigan State University. In addition to teaching psychiatry, he has been deeply involved in research on Holocaust survivors, substance abusers, psychosomatic patients, and other patient populations that have been subjected to severe trauma. The author has published numerous papers in the past 30 years on various aspects of his three main topics: affect, trauma, and alexithymia. In fact, he has organized the book into three sections—Emotions, Trauma, and Alexidiymia and Posttraumatic States.

The first section of the book is devoted to a presentation of Krystal's theory of affect, which is central to his concept of psychic functioning. He emphasizes that affects have cognitive, physiological, and hedonic components. When these three components occur together, along with a capacity for self-observation, we recognize a “feeling,” and this can be utilized as a signal. This concept of affect as a signal is important to Krystal because it provides a theoretical basis for his conception of “regression in the affect

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