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Wollheim, R. (1987). The Work of Hanna Segal; A Kleinian Approach to Clinical Practice by Hanna Segal. Published by Free Association Books & the Maresfield Press: London 1986; 240 pages; £9.95 paperback.. Brit. J. Psychother., 4(2):183-185.

(1987). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 4(2):183-185

Book Reviews

The Work of Hanna Segal; A Kleinian Approach to Clinical Practice by Hanna Segal. Published by Free Association Books & the Maresfield Press: London 1986; 240 pages; £9.95 paperback.

Review by:
Richard Wollheim

Readers of this journal will already be familiar with many of the papers reprinted here which, brought together in a single volume, acquire an enhanced depth and authority. Not only do they fully justify Segal's reputation as the foremost exponent of Kleinian theory but they reveal in a striking fashion her own qualities of mind. All the essays in this. volume are manuals of lucidity. In each case they aim at, and succeed in giving, a rounded picture of the phenomenon they discuss; a characteristic which Segal has on several occasions emphasised lay at the core of Mrs Klein's own technique. And they invariably point to the future in laying bare where there is still work for theory or research to be undertaken.

For a philosopher these essays are a particular pleasure to read. Not only does each essay, even the slightest or most occasional, reveal a remarkable power of organisation, something not always present in psychoanalytic writing, but Segal is endowed with a sensitivity akin to Freud's own for differences between issues of description and explanation, and again between these and issues of conceptualisation. Nowhere is this sensitivity more in evidence than in the extended discussion of the nature and uses of phantasy, which runs through several of these essays but is centred in ‘Phantasy and Other Mental Processes’, which is an invaluable and highly suggestive work of clarification.

On the first page of the first essay, writing specifically about technique but making it clear that the remark admits of generalisation, Segal claims that the Kleinian approach ‘in all essentials’ adheres to the psychoanalytic principles that Freud formulated.

[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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