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Katz, C.L. (1996). A Review Of psychoanalysis In Transition: A Personal View. Contemp. Psychoanal., 32:327.

(1996). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 32:327

A Review Of psychoanalysis In Transition: A Personal View

Constance L. Katz, Ph.D.

by Merton Gill. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1994. xvii + 179 pp.

THIS IS MERTON GILL'S LAST BOOK, although not his last published work (see Gill, 1995, and Publications in this issue). It is a book that one would be pleased to have stand as embodying one's final words; by Gill's own account, he had struggled with it for years, had finally finished it, and was satisfied with it. In his preface, Gill recalls that the problem in writing the book was one of deciding upon his reader. He found that in one draft he wrote for a novice group, and in another for a more sophisticated one. Although he ultimately made the decision to write for an experienced psychoanalytic audience, in his closing chapter Gill expresses the feeling that his book will also be useful to the relative novice in the field. I agree. This small volume contains a clear, disciplined, and fair exposition of the major controversies in psychoanalytic work today; anyone familiar with some basic terminology will be able to get a rendering of them along with some sense of their historicity, inasmuch as Gill was active in the field for about fifty years.

Although he was trained as a Freudian, Gill (beginning around 1961, according to his report) turned away from the classical Freudian position and became a leading spokesman for the hermeneutic-constructivist position. He has been called "one of the outstanding and trailblazing thinkers and innovators in American psychoanalysis of the twentieth century" (Sugarman & Wilson, p. 7). The fact that Gill was in the center of controversy adds a special dimension to the book.

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