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Khan, M.R. (1955). The Analysis of an Obsessional: By R. W. Pickford. (London: Hogarth Press, 1954. Pp. 223. 21 s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 36:414.

(1955). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 36:414

The Analysis of an Obsessional: By R. W. Pickford. (London: Hogarth Press, 1954. Pp. 223. 21 s.)

Review by:
M. Masud R. Khan

In his book Mr. Pickford has set himself a twofold task, namely 'to present a full account of the treatment of a single patient', and 'to reveal fully the mental processes and functions involved in an individual's development from the earliest stages of infancy'. By all requirements it is a laudable undertaking, the fulfilment of which would have earned everyone's gratitude. But it is only fair to state that so far, within the analytic literature, no one except Freud has ever succeeded in doing justice to case histories, and unfortunately Mr. Pickford is no exception.

Mr. Pickford has succeeded in giving us a very succint and dynamic report of the phantasies and symptoms, dreams and behaviour patterns of a young man of 20 who had sought treatment mainly for obsessional symptoms and phobias. This report, however, is bound to be more helpful to those who are not engaged in daily practice and somewhat obvious to those who are.

The second part of the undertaking, namely the technique of handling the case, was what one had hoped to see more of in such a full report. Here, although Mr. Pickford's sympathy and understanding of the patient are always in evidence, the clarity of his own therapeutic handling is rather dubious. The treatment is conducted largely in terms of dream analysis, though transference and its interpretetion are allowed a fair share. But one begins to have doubt about Mr. Pickford's real understanding of the transference when one reads the following:

'The technique of dream analysis was adopted forthwith, and in the second interview the patient was invited to sit in a chair, facing the fire with the analyst, and to recount his dreams.

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