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Abraham, H.C. (1959). Understanding Your Family: By Alexander Grinstein, M.D., and Edith Sterba, Ph.D. (New York: Random House, 1957. Pp. 312. $3.95.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 40:346-347.

(1959). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 40:346-347

Understanding Your Family: By Alexander Grinstein, M.D., and Edith Sterba, Ph.D. (New York: Random House, 1957. Pp. 312. $3.95.)

Review by:
Hilda C. Abraham

This book is not written for psychiatrists or psycho-analysts but to introduce psycho-analytical theories to an intelligent lay public. As such it takes a worthy place in a long row of publications with the same or a more limited aim. It seems typical not only for our science but for most disciplines that some workers wish only to do research or other specialized work, whilst others want to interest a wide public in the work to which they are dedicated. Freud himself must have felt this when he published his Psychopathology of Everyday Life. Abraham wrote an article on 'The Cultural Significance of Psycho-Analysis' in a monthly magazine read by the German intelligentsia, and Federn and Meng published Das Psycho-Analytische Volksbuch with the same motive, to name only a few.

More limited is the aim of those authors who deal with certain aspects of our work and present them to special groups. Thus Anna Freud wrote Psycho-Analysis for Teachers, Edith Buxbaum Your Child Makes Sense, addressing herself to parents, and the present book, on a far more ambitious scale, is addressed to the family. It tries to deal with any question or problem arising for courting couples, during engagement, and during marriage. The planning and timing of conception and the problems of pregnancy are discussed, and the authors try to simplify their difficult task by introducing the concept of the 'Family Ego' to describe 'the functioning of the family as a psychological unity, as well as the awareness the family has of its own group identity …' This is a useful term, and it is suggested that pregnancy, childbirth, and the size of the family should be related to the Family Ego's growing strength and dependability.

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