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Mann, D. (1998). The Analyst's Preconscious by Victoria Hamilton. Published by The Analytic Press, Hillsdale, New Jersey, 1996; 352 pages; £38.00 hardback. Brit. J. Psychother., 15(2):271-273.

(1998). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 15(2):271-273

The Analyst's Preconscious by Victoria Hamilton. Published by The Analytic Press, Hillsdale, New Jersey, 1996; 352 pages; £38.00 hardback

Review by:
David Mann

This book's purpose is to explore what ‘analysts draw on in order to enter into and elucidate the minds of others’ (p. 1). To this end, Hamilton considers that the analyst's contribution is not fully captured by ideas of countertransference. She resurrects and expands upon Freud's idea of the preconscious, standing as it does between the conscious and unconscious, with other ‘in-between’ concepts, namely Winnicott's and Balint's ideas of the ‘third’ or ‘intermediary’ areas. She particularly sees the preconscious as an area of play and imagination.

With these premises in mind, Hamilton has undertaken an extensive research project using interviews and questionnaires with psychoanalysts in the UK and USA. Altogether she interviewed 65 analysts from a broad spectrum of psychoanalytic perspectives, Kleinians, self psychologists, American eclectics, British Independents, Los Angeles Freudians and others. From the interviews and questionnaires the author then divides her data up into various headings for each chapter, such as the nature of psychic truth, objective reality and the real relationship; holding and containment; the analytic model of change and so forth. Each chapter explores these themes through the expressed opinions of representatives of the various theoretical groups. The book is laid out in such a manner as to allow these contrasting views to be compared.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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