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Hess, N. (2010). The Organic and the Inner World edited by Ronald Doctor and Richard Lucas. Published by Karnac, London, 2009; 115 pp; £16.95.. Brit. J. Psychother., 26(4):525-527.

(2010). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 26(4):525-527

The Organic and the Inner World edited by Ronald Doctor and Richard Lucas. Published by Karnac, London, 2009; 115 pp; £16.95.

Review by:
Noel Hess

Despite Freud's famous edict in 1923 that ‘the ego is first and foremost a bodily ego’, the complex relation between mind and body has been somewhat ignored in psychoanalysis until recent years, when we have seen an upsurge of interest in this area, most notably in the relation between unconscious processes and neurophysiology. This volume, the proceedings of a conference held in May 2007 and organized by the NHS Liaison Committee of the British Psychoanalytic Society, is an attempt to ‘tackle the unhelpful division between psychiatry and psychoanalysis’, as Roger Kennedy states in the preface (especially as psychiatry has become increasingly organic in the past 30 years). Four papers were delivered, along with brief invited responses to the papers. The book is dedicated to Richard Lucas, who died shortly before it was published.

The first paper, ‘Mind and Matter: A Psychoanalytic Perspective’ by Ron Britton, takes a largely philosophical approach to the mind-body issue, with reference to Mill, Huxley, Plato and, particularly, Ryle and his influence on British psychiatry: as Britton sees it, the negative influence of his ‘reductionist tendency provided an intellectual background to CBT’. Much the most interesting part of this chapter is a discussion of the relation between belief and knowledge, with reference to clinical material. Britton has explored this in more detail in other writings, but here connects it to a comparison of psychoanalysis and CBT.

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