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Tip: To sort articles by source…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Source. This will rearrange the results of your search, displaying articles according to their appearance in journals and books. This feature is useful for tracing psychoanalytic concepts in a specific psychoanalytic tradition.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Pedder, J. (1988). Theatres of the Mind: Illusion and Truth on the Psychoanalytic Stage by Joyce McDougall. Published by Free Association Books: London 1986; 301 pages; £9.95 paperback; £25 hardback.. Brit. J. Psychother., 4(3):332-334.

(1988). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 4(3):332-334

Theatres of the Mind: Illusion and Truth on the Psychoanalytic Stage by Joyce McDougall. Published by Free Association Books: London 1986; 301 pages; £9.95 paperback; £25 hardback.

Review by:
Jonathan Pedder

Joyce McDougall is a New Zealander who has worked for many years in Paris where she is a training analyst of the Paris Psychoanalytic Society. I had looked forward to reading Theatres of the Mind because of its engaging theme and title. This promise was not disappointed in the Prologue: The Psychic Theatre and the Psychoanalytic Stage. She begins with Shakespeare ‘All the world's a stage’ and says:

Each of us harbors in our inner universe a number of ‘characters’, parts of ourselves that frequently operate in complete contradiction to one another, causing conflict and mental pain to our conscious selves. For we are relatively unacquainted with these hidden players and their roles. Whether we will it or not, our inner characters are constantly seeking a stage on which to play out their tragedies and comedies. Although we rarely assume responsibility for our secret theater productions, the producer is seated in our own minds. Moreover, it is this inner world with its repeating repertory that determines most of what happens to us in the external world. (p. 4)

I agree this is a useful metaphor in which to think of analysis and psychotherapy as a playing out of dramas between internal objects and imagoes on the psychic stage of transference. She reminds us that Breuer's famous patient Anna 0 referred to her daydreams and free associations as ‘my private theatre’. This in turn reminded me of an expression of her French colleague Pontalis (1974) who referred to the ‘private theatre’ of transference.

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