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Hughes, A. (1996). Narcissistic Wounds: Clinical Perspectives. : Edited by Judy Cooper and Nilda Maxwell. London: Whurr Publishers. 1995. Pp. 163.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:843-845.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:843-845

Narcissistic Wounds: Clinical Perspectives. : Edited by Judy Cooper and Nilda Maxwell. London: Whurr Publishers. 1995. Pp. 163.

Review by:
Athol Hughes

In his Foreword to this book, Salomon Resnik draws our attention to the myth of Narcissus. His mother, the beautiful nymph Leiriope, consults the seer Teiresias, who predicts that if the boy was ever to know himself he would die. To stay alive, Narcissus has to struggle against his desire to see and to know himself (p. ix). Those who struggle, as do the contributors to this book, to understand and help the present day Narcissi see and know themselves, are fully aware just how close to death these individuals feel they would be if they saw and knew themselves. A variation on the myth of Narcissus is that Aphrodite punished him for his rejection of the love of Echo, by making him fall in love with his own image reflected in water. His fruitless attempts to approach his own image led to despair and he wasted away until he died. The contributors to the book also address the problems related to narcissistic patients' rejection of love and what it stands for, and their often hidden despair. The editors, Cooper & Maxwell, who jointly contribute two papers, have stressed the increasing numbers of narcissistic patients who seek therapy, and the arduous task they present.

The approaches to problems of narcissism presented in the thirteen papers that comprise the book are derived from theoretical orientations within British psychoanalytical psychotherapy: contemporary Freudian, Kleinian and Independent points of view. A study of the papers shows, however, that theoretical differences among the authors are not as great as might be expected.

The first chapter is devoted to a brief history of the various ways of understanding and treating narcissism.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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