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Rose, J. (1997). The Baby and the Bathwater. : By Nina Coltart. London: Karnac Books. 1996. Pp. 172.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 78:617-620.

(1997). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 78:617-620

The Baby and the Bathwater. : By Nina Coltart. London: Karnac Books. 1996. Pp. 172.

Review by:
James Rose

This book bills itself as a valediction and as such is a summary and review of the development of the author's outlook upon psychoanalysis and its practice. There is no doubt that she has inspired much affection and respect in the course of an illustrious career. She has, therefore, the right to make this statement in what is undeniably a very personal book.

In consequence, this book should, I think, be read as a story. Nina Coltart has absolutely no desire to proselytise or proclaim a particular point of view to gain converts. The structure of the book has a clear sense of a beginning, a middle and an end. The telling of, and listening to, stories about the lives of human beings forms the essence of this book and is the medium of its message. The story is about the author's journey from literature, via medicine, to a meditative view of life, heavily influenced by Buddhism. The purpose is to show the impact these influences have had upon her view and practice of psychoanalysis.

Clinical practice forms the base and three case histories give a clear sense of the author as a psychoanalyst in action at work.

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