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Adams, M. (2001). Psychoanalysis and History, Volume 1, Nos. 1 and 2, 1998, edited by Andrea Sabbadini. Published by Artesian Books, London; 291 pages; £18 for two issues.. Brit. J. Psychother., 17(3):412-415.

(2001). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 17(3):412-415

Psychoanalysis and History, Volume 1, Nos. 1 and 2, 1998, edited by Andrea Sabbadini. Published by Artesian Books, London; 291 pages; £18 for two issues.

Review by:
Mary Adams

In one of the papers in the first issue of this impressive new journal, Psychoanalysis and History, the author says, ‘psychoanalysts have a very weak sense of their own history’ (Homans, 1(1): 70). I do not know how much this is true, but it raises interesting questions about the value of having a strong sense of our history for those of us in the analytic community and, further, which aspects of that history might be particularly important for us to absorb and think about.

Given the fact that, as practitioners, an important part of our work with patients aims towards establishing a greater sense of the generational boundaries, i.e. working through the Oedipus complex, it would seem essential that we ourselves have a firm sense of our own place in relation to our analytic family and the history of the psychoanalytic movement. Now, perhaps more than ever, with the dissolution in contemporary society of the extended family and traditional hierarchical structures, this is a particularly challenging aspect of our analytic work. For example, how do we address, with conviction, the narcissism in our patients and the perverse denial of difference, particularly generational difference (Chasseguet-Smirgel 1985) or denials of the ‘facts of life’ (Money-Kyrle 1971), unless we have a passionate sense and respect for the history and the personalities of our forebears.

What this new journal gives us in the first two issues is a lively feel for the history of psychoanalysis and the nature and humanity of the struggles faced by the people involved. And while any of the papers included would belong equally well in our already established psychoanalytic journals, developing a journal aimed specifically at giving us more of a sense of our own history does lend a special importance to the cultural roots of the psychoanalytic movement.

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