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J., E. (1932). The Mind at Mischief: By William S. Sadler, M.D. (Funk and Wagnalls Company, New York and London, 1929. Pp. 400. Price $4.00.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 13:484-485.
(1932). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 13:484-485
The Mind at Mischief: By William S. Sadler, M.D. (Funk and Wagnalls Company, New York and London, 1929. Pp. 400. Price $4.00.)
Review by: E. J.
This diffuse book, written by a surgeon, is addressed to both doctors and patients. It is evidently a very well-intentioned production and contains much useful worldly advice.
Regarded, however, as a serious work on the subject of the neuroses, it is based on a level of knowledge that can only be called deplorable. The repeated attempts to present psycho-analytical teaching would be funny if they had no consequences. Speaking of the life and death instincts, the authors says: 'Philosophically speaking, the whole Freudian doctrine is wrong, in my opinion, in that it contemplates life as evil, while the goal of death is all that is ideally good' (p. 103). In reference to patients with melancholia, who think they have committed the unpardonable sin we learn that 'Freud thinks this sort of melancholia is a grown-up form of Narcissism. We first worship ourselves, and later on, when we are cured of that, we get sick and indulge in a sort of glorified pity for ourselves' (p. 139). Another simplification is that 'Freud thinks obsessions come on as the result of imperfect repression of some wish, and when the obsession is marked or involves a group of muscles he is inclined to regard it as "conversion hysteria"' (p. 142). It is not rare for casual readers of psychiatry to get muddled over the concepts of projection and introjection, but the following passage goes beyond the average in this respect: 'Likewise the more strictly Freudian definition of projection has to do with the patient's disowning something which has originated in his mind and attributing it to some external source. A typical illustration, often met with, is the tendency of certain hysterical women who accuse innocent men of misconduct. The counterpart of projection is called introjection, and is the phenomenon we see in paranoia, where a patient ascribes personal meaning to every little thing that happens in his environment' (p. 246).
Dr. Sadler does not altogether condemn Freud: 'Before the days of Freud, psychotherapists depended almost exclusively on hypnotism to locate the offending complex.
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