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Riviere, J. (1948). The Question of Lay Analysis: By Sigmund Freud. Translated by N. Procter-Gregg. (Imago Publishing Co. Pp. 81. Price 9 s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 29:257-258.

(1948). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 29:257-258

The Question of Lay Analysis: By Sigmund Freud. Translated by N. Procter-Gregg. (Imago Publishing Co. Pp. 81. Price 9 s.)

Review by:
Joan Riviere

Those who know this short book by Professor Freud will be much pleased to have it at last in an English rendering. Apart from its intrinsic interest, it provides us with another introduction to the study of psycho-analysis, of which we cannot have too many, and this time again from the hand of the originator himself—in a form perhaps more easy and acceptable than any other, because more limited in scope.

The book appeared in the original in 1926, and it is unfortunate that for a variety of reasons it was not possible for it to be produced here before now. As a very short, exquisitely lucid and simple exposition of the nature of psycho-analytic therapy, its value is so great in relation to the need for such books—and to the acute difficulty felt by less masterly hands in writing them—that one can hardly escape a regret about its title. The Question of Lay Analysis is a challenge to the medical profession which they may not care to attend to, while the general public, as Freud himself remarks, are entirely indifferent about the matter. Provided you cure them, they do not mind who you are. Its title therefore may perhaps detract considerably from the interest it should arouse. It is important that all those in medicine and psychology who recognize the value of psycho-analysis should appreciate that this short book consists in fact of a description of what the therapy is, and does not devote more than a few pages at the end to the question of whether the analyst must be medically qualified or not.

By means of this outline of psycho-analytic technique which constitutes the main part of the book, Professor Freud ultimately makes clear that his own advocacy for the existence of duly trained and registered non-medical analysts is firmly founded on the realities of the problem, uninfluenced by prepossessions or irrelevant considerations. The theory of psycho-analysis is no easy matter to assimilate, the technique far from easy to acquire. Certain natural talents are indispensable; certain character-traits essential—a high degree of integrity, patience, self-control and capacity for self-abnegation. Wide experience of life and technical dexterity are required. The practice of analytic therapy should be permitted to those persons and only to those who have these qualifications. Medical degrees can neither be said to cover nor to replace these requirements. (Such medical or psychiatric

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