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Demos, E.V. (1996). Expanding the Interpersonal Perspective: A review of The Handbook of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis, edited by Marylou Lionells, John Fiscalini, Carola H. Mann, and Donnel B. Stern. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1995. xxx + 928 pp.. Contemp. Psychoanal., 32:649-663.
(1996). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 32:649-663
Expanding the Interpersonal Perspective: A review of The Handbook of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis, edited by Marylou Lionells, John Fiscalini, Carola H. Mann, and Donnel B. Stern. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1995. xxx + 928 pp.
Review by: E. Virginia Demos
The publication of the Handbook of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis is a remarkable achievement. The four editors are to be congratulated for what is clearly a labor of love that engaged their time and energies for nearly eight years. The result is a highly informative and readable volume containing 859 pages of text divided into seven parts, with contributions from thirty-six authors, plus a glossary of interpersonal concepts and an index. The editors set out to provide both a comprehensive review and a broad-based introduction to interpersonal psychoanalysis, with the emphasis on explication rather than on critique. I have been asked to review the first three parts of this handbook, which deal with background, basic issues, and development, taking up a little more than a third of the book. The remaining parts deal with psychopathology, the analytic process, aspects of technique, and special topics. I have not yet ventured into these other parts, having only recently received a copy of the entire volume, but the first three parts certainly live up to the editors' goals. Each of the chapters is carefully crafted, well-written, full of useful information and clarifications, and surprisingly consistent in style and tone with the other chapters. This is a superb review of and introduction to interpersonal psychoanalysis and is eminently usable. How one uses it will, of course, depend on one's purpose. I would suggest dipping in wherever one's interests are focused, since each chapter can stand on its own. Reading it through chapter by chapter, as I did for this review, one will encounter a fair amount of repetition, or variations on themes.
And what are these themes? The most common theme is the interpersonalists' claim that psychological meaning can only emerge, evolve, and