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Spruiell, V. (1983). Difficulties in the Analytic Encounter: By John Klauber. New York, London: Jason Aronson. 1980. Pp. 235.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 64:359-363.

(1983). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 64:359-363

Difficulties in the Analytic Encounter: By John Klauber. New York, London: Jason Aronson. 1980. Pp. 235.

Review by:
Vann Spruiell

'What one writes is primarily for oneself' (p. xiii). Thus, the late John Klauber began the introduction to this collection of papers. That was characteristic of him. And so was: 'What prompted me to write these papers, I now see, was my wish to clarify my views on psychoanalysis and resolve [the] supercharged elements of the transference—and, if I could reach my own truth, to have it recognized by others' (p. xvii).

This reviewer felt he knew Klauber's character, despite the lack of an opportunity to become personally well acquainted. The reason for that feeling, whether illusory or realistic, came from reading his earlier papers: one seemed to be addressed so intimately; the author seemed so trustingly candid about his inner life as a psychoanalyst—without ever being embarrassingly confessional. The present collection of papers, two never before published in English, others published in places likely to be missed by the casual reader, adds to that impression.

Klauber divided the papers, with their introductory remarks, into three sections: difficulties in the therapeutic situation, in technique, and in the analyst. He integrated these with an Introduction entitled, 'Arriving at solutions', and two Appendices, 'On the dual use of historical and scientific method in psychoanalysis' (first written in 1968, pp. 181–204), and 'The psychical roots of religion: a case study' (written originally in 1974, pp. 205–221). The latter papers might be thought of as summaries of the 'covering principles' which governed his thought, but which also allowed for a playful, candid, and very serious creativity.

What really holds the papers together, however, is not the artificial separation into groups. It is the consistent attention to these core principles and their resulting themes. Thus almost all the papers cross boundaries. Inevitably there are repetitions of ideas, but these serve more to emphasize than simply to repeat.

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