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Herman, N. (1986). Autistic Barriers in Neurotic Patients, Frances Tustin, Karnac Books, 1986, x + 326 pages, hb £19.95, pb £9.95.. Free Associations, 1(7):127-132.

(1986). Free Associations, 1(7):127-132

Autistic Barriers in Neurotic Patients, Frances Tustin, Karnac Books, 1986, x + 326 pages, hb £19.95, pb £9.95.

Review by:
Nini Herman

This book is surely an event we need to celebrate. I can no longer quite recall just when I fell under the spell of Tustin's way of seeing things (in many instances she was ‘Tustin’ to her patients). Was it while I was discovering what seemed at first mere harmless remnants of my own autism, guided by an analyst who knew those stultifying bolt-holes and clandestine alley ways which short circuit and obfuscate the very earliest thrust for life by striking at the embryonic groping for relatedness? For at a time when this has barely tried to make a furtive mark, a catastrophic slide occurs into a ‘massive, unmitigated primal sulk’ (p. 20) which seems to wipe the mind-slate clean to ordinary appearances: ordinary in the sense that extraordinary intuition, the inner binoculars of the psycho-ethologist, were needed over ample years to decode states of mind akin to frozen wastes of terror far beneath those mute façades, those apparent absences with their averted gaze.

The author says of her book that

It represents an attempt to get in touch with idiosyncratic, preverbal states to try and bring them into the orbit of human communication. I have called upon poets and writers to help me in this task. It has seemed to me that we need to be encircled by their integrating aesthetic embrace as we go through states of unintegration and disintegration that will be discussed in this book. (p.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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