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Hinshelwood, B. (1988). Projection, Identification, Projective Identification edited by Joseph Sandler. Published by Karnac Books: London 1988; pp. xii + 216; £11.95 paperback.. Brit. J. Psychother., 5(2):267-269.

(1988). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 5(2):267-269

Projection, Identification, Projective Identification edited by Joseph Sandler. Published by Karnac Books: London 1988; pp. xii + 216; £11.95 paperback.

Review by:
Bob Hinshelwood

This is the book of the Conference which took place in 1985 in Jerusalem when the convenor of the Conference, Joseph Sandler, was Professor of Psycho-Analysis at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He chaired the Conference and has now edited this book which comprises: introductory remarks on these concepts by himself, three papers by people who might be regarded as international experts on the topic, W.W. Meissner, Betty Joseph and Otto F. Kernberg, two papers by colleagues at the Hebrew University on social aspects of these psycho-analytic concepts, and last but very much not least transcripts of all the discussions. It is the last that makes a book out of what otherwise would be a collection of unrelated papers. Because, like no other concepts in psycho-analysis, projection and projective identification allow everyone to go off into their own views on what they mean, it seemed a good idea to bring together a conference on this topic, and to bring in international experts and an international audience seemed to make it an even better one. But it is only the discussion that gave a sense of issues being seriously tackled.

One could say that the three papers by the experts were important but rather uninteresting (because of their predictability) while the additional two papers by local psycho-analysts were extremely interesting but perhaps not very important for the task of sorting out what everyone means by the terms. Regarding the three important papers, Meissner is well known for a series of densely argued papers on certain psychoanalytic mechanisms including a rather celebrated one criticising the concept of projective identification; Betty Joseph is well known as a representative of the Kleinian views on those developments that have come after Melanie Klein; and Kernberg is, I suppose, simply well known.

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