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Mann, D. (1997). From Oedipus to Dream by Mauro Mancia. Published by Karnac Books, London, 1996; 174 pages; £16.95. Brit. J. Psychother., 14(2):234-235.

(1997). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 14(2):234-235

Book Reviews

From Oedipus to Dream by Mauro Mancia. Published by Karnac Books, London, 1996; 174 pages; £16.95

Review by:
David Mann

This is an interesting book by the Italian analyst Mauro Mancia. The chapters are based on seminars held in recent years. This does pose a slight problem in that the book does not have a clear focus or topic that is elaborated. In that sense it reads more like a collection of papers, whereas the title From Oedipus To Dream promises more continuity than is in fact present. The subjects range broadly, with chapters on the Oedipus complex, models and origins of the mind, the place of phantasy, the absent father, psychosomatic disorders and dreams. There is probably something of interest for just about everybody.

Though working as a post-Kleinian, Mancia has a critical appreciation of his theoretical tradition. In particular, he argues against the continued use of doubtful ideas, especially of the death instinct, for which there is no clinical proof that is not open to other interpretations. He argues instead that children vary in their innate emotional equipment to face frustrations. Therefore, they are not all equally capable of transforming the same amount of frustration. Thus concepts like ‘malignant narcissism’ are viewed as secondary to the disappointment with the object. I think that with a view such as this, Mancia is closer to the ideas of Fairbairn than Klein. He also cautions against isomorphism (pp. 34 and 63), that is the drawing of too close a parallel between mother-baby and analyst-patient relations, though clearly there is an analogy.

Mancia also advocates a more interactive mother and baby model with less emphasis simply on the infant's instincts and internal world.

[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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