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Kinston, W. (1988). Techniques of Working with Resistance: By Donald S. Milman and George D. Goldman. London: Jason Aronson. 1987. Pp. 417 + xiv.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 69:563-564.

(1988). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 69:563-564

Techniques of Working with Resistance: By Donald S. Milman and George D. Goldman. London: Jason Aronson. 1987. Pp. 417 + xiv.

Review by:
Warren Kinston

Patients undergoing psychoanalysis exhibit a 'violent and tenacious' resistance 'which opposes treatment' (Freud, 1916–17, p. 26 in text), but work with 'resistances is the essential function of analysis' (Freud, 1916–17, p. 30 in text). The psychoanalytic clinician deals with resistances effectively in practice and does not bother himself with resolving such logical contradictions. However, psychoanalytic theory demands a coherent framework. Contradictions cannot be ignored or glorified but must be resolved.

The present book is a collection and does not aim to provide any final synthesis or resolution. Its strength lies in its contributors, which include Freud, Reich, Giovacchini, Langs, Meltzer, Greenson and Kohut. If resistance were a different sort of concept, perhaps the collection would have made sense to the practising analyst. As it is, readers are well-advised to go to the original sources for inspiration rather than purchase this expensive book.

For the theoretically-minded psychoanalyst, the book is useful in that it reveals clearly how the concept has been handled over the decades. Most authors simply manipulate the term. Following Freud's example ('the pathogenic process which is demonstrated by the resistance [is called] repression' … p. 33 of text), they use resistance an an opportunity to ride their theoretical hobby horse, whatever it may be.

Such an expedient approach shows in the frequent tautologies used by the authors. The analyst does not analyse transference, but transference resistance; does not work with defences but defence resistance, does not dissect character but character resistance; does not struggle with the analysis of guilt but with guilt resistance; does not sensitively handle narcissistic psychopathology but narcissistic resistance; and so on.

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