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Anzieu-Premmereur, C. (2009). Freud, Jacques Sedat, translated by Susan Fairfield, Other Press, New York, 2005, 188pp.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 69(4):380-382.

(2009). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 69(4):380-382

Freud, Jacques Sedat, translated by Susan Fairfield, Other Press, New York, 2005, 188pp.

Review by:
Christine Anzieu-Premmereur, M.D.

This small book is amazing; this is an overview of Freud's work that offers an introduction of psychoanalytic thinking for those who do not know about it, and gives an insightful detailed history of Freud's central concepts. Jacques Sedat, a French psychoanalyst well known in Europe for his work on the history of psychoanalysis, presents the stages in the development of Freud's thought, with a chronology of the complex developments of his works. He gives the reader the sense of the emergence of Freud's concepts and their implication for psychoanalytic technique.

The author invites the reader to accompany him to integrate, step by step, the discovery of psychoanalysis, and to deepen the understanding of the psychic functioning. Freud opened many broad avenues to research, and this book is an instrument of discovery of what Freud's concepts really entail. So, this is a useful tool for researchers and students in psychoanalysis as well as for the curious reader.

The first part of the book is entitled “Method.” This is about the birth of psychoanalysis, when Freud was a neurologist looking for a scientific method, and was writing beautifully at the same time. Sigmund Freud took psychotherapy to the scientific level with the introduction of psychoanalysis—a treatment directed to the psyche, within the framework of an interpersonal relation and with the backing of a scientific theory of personality. The aim is to cure, and to try to liberate the personality from what prevented it from taking its authentic form. There is a permanent interaction between theory and technique that is peculiar to psychoanalysis. This substantial relationship between theory and technique can be followed throughout Freud's work. The technique determines the method of observation of psychoanalysis, and the theory sustains the technique. Freud said that psychoanalysis was a theory of personality, a method of psychotherapy and an instrument of scientific investigation.

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