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Hinshelwood, B. (1992). Editorial. Brit. J. Psychother., 9(1):3-4.

(1992). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 9(1):3-4


Bob Hinshelwood

Experimental psychology started as a scientific discipline in its own right at a point roughly contemporary with the emergence of psycho-analysis. Not much interchange has happened between them over the lifetime of the two disciplines, and it has tended to get less as time goes on. However, remarkable experimental studies in the development of the very young infant have accumulated and recently there has been an increasing psycho-analytic interest. Perhaps the most important work summarising and creating a framework for this experimental work is the book by Daniel Stern. He has in fact brought together experimental psychology of the neonate with psycho-analytic theories, and come to conclusions which conflict with those of Margaret Mahler, but perhaps substantiate certain object-relations ideas.

Maxine Anderson, in this issue of the Journal, has written a balanced critique of Stern's work. With her American background she shows how there is a distinct tendency for Stern to remain confined within the American ego-psychology school. Despite this, Stern's work is of immense value in putting to test the durability of psycho-analytic theories of development.

John Hill's recollections of his supervisor, Wilfred Bion, are personal; and therefore valuable to the increasingly large number of psychotherapists who did not have personal acquaintance with Bion. As one of those who did not, I find it remarkable that Bion's sayings seem as vivid to those who heard him as his writings do to his readers.

[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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