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Boakes, J. (1986). Love and Narcissism in Psychoanalytic Practice edited by Herbert S. Strean. Published by The Haworth Press: New York 1985.. Brit. J. Psychother., 3(1):88.

(1986). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 3(1):88

Book Reviews

Love and Narcissism in Psychoanalytic Practice edited by Herbert S. Strean. Published by The Haworth Press: New York 1985.

Review by:
Janet Boakes

This is a curiously uneven little book. First published as an issue of Current Issues in Psychoanalytic Practice in 1985 it is reprinted in this form. It is a collection of papers on Narcissism from a classical psychoanalytic position. There is no mention of either Kernberg or Kohut, both of whom have made major contributions to the subject. It suffers from lack of this perspective.

Overall the book with its very specific approach is likely to appeal to a relatively narrow readership. To those versed in psychoanalysis it will probably be absorbing, but to non-analysts it lays itself open to the stricture of saying more about the working of the analytic mind than of the subject it addresses. As such it still makes intriguing reading. The editor's aim is to combine ‘scholarship with humanism’ and the approach is a mixture of extended case presentation and theoretical papers.

The first paper is a lengthy case presentation of severe obsessional disorder with discussion by Joyce McDougall. Though heavily analytic it does present a fascinating account of the analysis of an intractable problem. Whether the patient derived much benefit remains at best unclear.

The second paper by Reuben Fine, unfortunately titled ‘Academy of Love’, which proved to be a quote from Freud, presents a fascinating look at ‘Love’ from philosophical, historical, sociological, ethological and clinical perspectives. For this well-written and fascinating paper alone I am glad to have read the book.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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