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Adey, E. (1994). The Taming of Solitude: separation anxiety in psychoanalysis by Jean-Michel Quinodoz (translated by Philip Slotkin). Published by Routledge, London, 1993; 211 pages; £40.00 (hardback); £14.99 (paperback).. Brit. J. Psychother., 11(1):146-148.

(1994). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 11(1):146-148

Book Reviews

The Taming of Solitude: separation anxiety in psychoanalysis by Jean-Michel Quinodoz (translated by Philip Slotkin). Published by Routledge, London, 1993; 211 pages; £40.00 (hardback); £14.99 (paperback).

Review by:
Evelyn Adey

Delightful quotations from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's Le Petit Prince head chapters throughout this book; they explain the title, encapsulate the psychoanalytic process and give a flavour of the liveliness of the book's content. To ‘tame’ is to differentiate and so to identify and know the uniqueness of the object, and thus, also of the subject. Only then is solitude meaningful. Liveliness may seem a strange word to use in the context of the deadening effects of separation anxiety, but Quinodoz's detailed and illuminating exploration of object loss leads to the feeling of buoyancy he describes in the last part of the book, so that reading the book offers a sort of experiential parallel to the process of working through separation anxiety.

In the first section of the book Quinodoz gives a general introduction to separation anxiety, provides a comprehensive clinical example and defines his terms. The word separation is used for the parting of whole object from whole subject and differentiation is used to describe the internal distiction between ego and object. Prior to differentiation, relating is maintained by means of projective identification and separation in this case leads to loss of parts of the ego and to fragmentation. Separation in a differentiated subject leads to normal mourning. Although theoretically differentiation precedes the ability to separate, Quinodoz points out that in clinical practice the processes are most often alternating or occurring simultaneously.

[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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