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Paul, P.I. (1997). Processes of repetition and offerings of the ego: By Anna Potamianou. Paris: Delachaux et Niestlé, Collection Champs Psychanalytiques. 1995. Pp. 161.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 78:1037-1039.

(1997). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 78:1037-1039

Processes of repetition and offerings of the ego: By Anna Potamianou. Paris: Delachaux et Niestlé, Collection Champs Psychanalytiques. 1995. Pp. 161.

Review by:
Paul Israel Paul

Anna Potamianou is a doctor of philosophy and a member of both the Hellenic Psychoanalytical Study Group and the Paris Psychoanalytical Society. The references to Greek mythology that permeate her book demonstrate the author’s deep roots in the culture from which she draws her metaphors. However, when she tells us in her preface that she regards what she has written as the ‘flesh of the psyche’, we know that we are listening to one of the Paris Psychoanalytical Society’s most authoritative champions of the prevalence of the drive in Freud’s oeuvre and hence in the process and practice of psychoanalysis. Arguing by ‘recapitulative cycles of the subjectmatter under consideration’ as she herself puts it, Anna Potamianou is concerned to review and analyse the processes of repetition, as a universal tendency not only of organic life but also, and in particular—as Freud clearly showed —of psychic life and the life of the drives. While she in no way fails to recognise the importance of the repetitive activities that constitute the foundation of psychic life, she is mainly, if not exclusively, concerned here with the repetition compulsion, as a tendency that simultaneously opposes and combines with the efforts at transformation in the treatment.

Hence the author’s discussion in the second part of the book of patients whose behaviour ‘respects neither the possibilities of the soma nor the limits of mental life’ and who thus compulsively seek out martyr or victim situations.

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