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Kohon, G. (1988). Illusion and Spontaneity in Psychoanalysis by John Klauber and others. Published by Free Association Books: London 1988; 208 pp; £25.50 hardback; £9.95 paperback.. Brit. J. Psychother., 5(2):269-270.

(1988). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 5(2):269-270

Illusion and Spontaneity in Psychoanalysis by John Klauber and others. Published by Free Association Books: London 1988; 208 pp; £25.50 hardback; £9.95 paperback.

Review by:
G. Kohon

John Klauber was a prominent member of the Independent Group of British psychoanalysts. At the time of his death in 1981 he was occupying the Presidency of the British Psycho-Analytical Society and was due to assume the Freud Memorial Visiting Professorship at University College London. Illusion and Spontaneity in Psychoanalysis is a collection of papers formed by the four lectures that Klauber had completed before his deth, and six other contributions by British, French and German psychoanalytic authors akin or sympathetic to Klauber's approach: Neville Symington, Roger Kennedy, Patrick Casement, Nicole Berry, Daniel Widlocher and Helmut Thoma. Symington's own chapter included in this book John Klauber - Independent Clinician gives the reader a vivid picture of Klauber's view of the psychoanalytic relationship. Drawing from Klauber's only collection of papers Difficulties in the Analytic Encounter, Symington's contribution could be read as a general introduction to Klauber's thought.

Klauber (who had according to Symington ‘a pessimistic view of the human scene but it was coupled with great joy and contentment in living’) believed that ‘We cannot live by reality alone. We need the illusions which touch reality “with a celestial light” …’. The psychoanalytic situation offers a setting in which illusions flourish, are permanently evoked, developed, sustained. These illusions exist at the heart of psychoanalysis, and it is the task of both patient and analyst to concentrate their attention on the ongoing, constant attempt to extricate truth from illusion. This is done mainly through the work of interpretation, a hard road that both patient and analyst have to follow and for which there are no short cuts. Klauber belonged to a large group of psychoanalytic thinkers (a line originated perhaps with Ferenczi, followed by Balint and Winnicott, and continued by a younger generation of British analysts-i.e. Bollas, Casement and Symington) who believe that we cannot work by ‘transference’ interpretations alone. The belief that everything that the patient says can be reduced to ‘transference’ has done much harm to psychoanalytic theory and technique.

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