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Scharff, D.E. (1996). The Relevance Of The Family To Psychoanalytic Theory. By Theodore Lidz. Madison, CT: Int. Univ. Press, 1992, ix + 256 pp., $30.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44:327-333.

(1996). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44:327-333

The Relevance Of The Family To Psychoanalytic Theory. By Theodore Lidz. Madison, CT: Int. Univ. Press, 1992, ix + 256 pp., $30.00.

Review by:
David E. Scharff

This book is an ambitious attempt at a fundamental revision of psychoanalytic theory from the vantage of clinical and research experience with families. It benefits from Lidz's experience both as a psychoanalyst and with families in treatment and in research protocols at the Yale Psychiatric Institute, where he directed some of the first investigations into the effect of family patterns on schizophrenia in the 1950's and 1960's. It is replete with references from the period in which Lidz was active as a researcher, but is limited concerning developments of the last twenty years. Nevertheless, Lidz's contribution is a rich historical record which documents and synthesizes the revisions of analytic theory that the first generation of family research makes possible. Although readers looking for a comprehensive and up-to-date statement will have to go further, they will have begun the journey well by reading Lidz's synthesis.

The first section of the book reviews the shortcomings of early analytic theory, and moves logically toward the family's contribution to development and pathology. In his review of Freud's early theory, Lidz highlights Freud's abandonment of the seduction theory in favor of libido theory. Freud originally claimed its universal application in cases of hysteria, only to abandon it under the personal impact of his own father's death, arriving through personal experience at the discovery of the fantasy origin of hysteria. While Freud never completely abandoned the seduction hypothesis, he threw his interest in theory building behind the fantasy distortions of experience by the child.

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