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Chasseguet-Smirgel, J. (1998). The Problem of Perversion: the View from Self Psychology. By Arnold Goldberg. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995, 208 pp., $30.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(2):610-619.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(2):610-619

The Problem of Perversion: the View from Self Psychology. By Arnold Goldberg. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995, 208 pp., $30.00.

Review by:
Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel

This is a precise, clear, and relatively brief book the reading of which, however, is not without difficulty, particularly for someone in France not very familiar with the concepts and vocabulary of self psychology. A re-reading of Kohut's The Analysis of the Self (1971) and the help of the late Agnes Oppenheimer's Kohut et la Psychologie du Self (1996) were indispensable for me to attain a better understanding of the argument developed by Arnold Goldberg. In preparing this review, I recalled having been a discussant at the 1979 IPA Congress in New York, along with Horacio Etchegoyen, of Kohut's “The Two Analyses of Mr. Z” without having fully grasped the implications of what was then at stake. If Kohut's article, which was published the same year, constituted an event for American psychoanalysts, I believe it can be said that it did not receive broad notice by analysts in the rest of the world, even those in Anglophone countries. I recollect having criticized the first analysis of Mr. Z, which, though presented as an example of a classical cure, was in fact a mere caricature of an analysis (probably intentional) based on a poorly assimilated theoretical model.

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