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Tansey, M.J. (1998). The Handbook of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis. Edited by Marylou Lionells, John Fiscalini, Carola H. Mann, and Donnel B. Stern. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 928 pp., $180.00. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(3):982-983.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(3):982-983

The Handbook of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis. Edited by Marylou Lionells, John Fiscalini, Carola H. Mann, and Donnel B. Stern. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 928 pp., $180.00

Review by:
Michael J. Tansey

The majority of edited psychoanalytic texts lack an overall sense of organization, coherence, and focus. In this regard, the Handbook of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis is a very pleasant surprise. The editors have produced a remarkable magnum opus, the stated goal of which is to provide a comprehensive reference text that reviews, integrates, and synthesizes the interpersonal literature. It is written with sufficient clarity to be easily understandable by those unfamiliar with the genre, and yet with sufficient depth and sophistication to be enormously useful to those already well versed. Clearly, its intended audience includes not only undergraduate, graduate students, interns, residents, and analytic candidates, but also serious psychoanalytic scholars of every persuasion.

To the benefit of all concerned, psychoanalytic theorizing has become less concerned with politically charged judgments about which theory is right and which wrong. The emphasis has instead shifted to a recognition that debate may be fruitful on virtually any psychoanalytic topic. The sheer quantity of material is remarkable. Running to over nine hundred pages (double columns and small print to boot), the volume is divided into seven parts: Background, Basic Issues, Development, Psychopathology, Analytic Process, Aspects of Technique, and Special Topics. Together they comprise thirty-eight chapters covering a wide array of psychoanalytic subjects. A glossary of interpersonal concepts and terms is also included.

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