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Tyson, R.L. (1996). Self-Analysis: Critical Inquiries, Personal Visions. Edited by James W. Barron. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press, 1993, 320 pp., $45.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44:1247-1252.

(1996). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44:1247-1252

Self-Analysis: Critical Inquiries, Personal Visions. Edited by James W. Barron. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press, 1993, 320 pp., $45.00.

Review by:
Robert L. Tyson

Some time very early in the course of my analytic training, a question about self-analysis was raised at a monthly continuous case conference attended by candidates at all levels. The seminar leader, an imposing figure who had been analyzed by someone who had been analyzed by Freud and was therefore presumably close to the Holy Grail of Truth, replied that there was only one self-analysis, and that was Freud's. All others were the same as masturbation. To say that this attitude discouraged inquiry and was anti-analytic would be an understatement even if, charitably, one were to believe it was intended as some form of humor. Not surprisingly, the subject of countertransference was similarly taboo, and similar strictures have been reported as widespread among institutes in North America at the time. But in recent years many analysts in North America, somewhat later than colleagues in Europe and Latin America, have felt more free to consider, reflect on, and write about issues of countertransference and, much more recently, the recondite subject of self-analysis. One may venture to hope that the age of stultification in analytic education is passing, if not past.

Therefore this excellent and important work, Self-Analysis, is particularly welcome and well timed as a collection of essays reflecting a spectrum of experiences, ideas, and conceptualizations on the topic. As judged by the references cited by the authors of the various chapters, the extant literature consists of about thirty published articles and perhaps one or two relatively specialized books.

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