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Bacon, R. (2015). Boundaries & Bridges: Perspectives on Time and Space in Psychoanalysis by Andrea Sabbadini. Published by Karnac Books, London. 2014; 162 pp; £22.99 paperback; £16.09 Ebook. Brit. J. Psychother., 31(3):401-404.

(2015). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 31(3):401-404

Book Reviews

Boundaries & Bridges: Perspectives on Time and Space in Psychoanalysis by Andrea Sabbadini. Published by Karnac Books, London. 2014; 162 pp; £22.99 paperback; £16.09 Ebook

Review by:
Roger Bacon

This is a richly rewarding and revealing book in which Andrea Sabbadini shows a great deal of the inner workings - the thoughts, words, acts and feelings - which together make up his practice as a psychoanalyst.

At the same time, it is also a highly intriguing book, almost a palimpsest, in which the author has interleaved another text, suggesting that he has an enigmatic, if not ambivalent, relationship to that which might be his central aim and desire for his text.

By far the largest part of the book consists of 11 chapters in which Sabbadini, with enviable clarity and honesty, lays out the guiding motifs of his practice and the fruits of his long experience, theoretical and cultural knowledge and clinical acumen. These chapters, under such headings as Space, Time, Sound and Silence, are themselves organized and informed by a set of principles which he delineates as Theoretical, Technical and Ethical. That is, first, the background knowledge brought to the clinical encounter; second, the working principles whose ‘main function is to guide us in our daily practice, providing it with a certain amount of continuity and consistency’ (p. xv); and finally those principles ‘grounded in our own personal moral convictions, as well as professional explicit and implicit codes of conduct’ (p. xvi).

These principles, in turn, are informed and enlivened by an overriding principle - and aim - which is the demystification of the psychoanalytic process, as much for practitioners as for patients. He states openly his gratitude to R.D. Laing who ‘will be remembered as a convincing demystifier … Indeed he is still leading us today to question our own assumptions about what we do and why, ultimately helping us to abandon some of our narcissistic omnipotence’ (p. xvii). And he quotes approvingly Bettelheim's suggestion that, when one of his troubled adolescents at his Orthogenic School ran away, a member of staff would run with, not after, them with the aim of keeping the runaway company and making him feel he was not alone. Sabbadini comments, ‘[on] the crucial issue of whether or not we psychoanalysts know where we are going, perhaps it could be said that ultimately it does not matter as long as we stay with our patients’ (p. xvii).

For the stating of these principles and motifs alone and their articulation and elaboration through the main chapters, this is a book well worth reading and brings a rich reward.

[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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