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Winer, J.A. (2006). The Technique and Practice of Psychoanalysis, Vol 3: The training seminars of Ralph R. Greenson, MD Edited by Lee Jaffe Madison, CT: International University Press. 2004. 216 p.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 87(1):296-298.

(2006). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 87(1):296-298

The Technique and Practice of Psychoanalysis, Vol 3: The training seminars of Ralph R. Greenson, MD Edited by Lee Jaffe Madison, CT: International University Press. 2004. 216 p.

Review by:
Jerome A. Winer

Jacob Arlow admonished us that no science but psychoanalysis uses textbooks a century old. Can seminars on evaluation for psychoanalysis given nearly a half century ago be of value today when so much in the way we treat patients psychoanalytically has changed? The answer is yes and no. Were these transcribed classes Ralph Greenson taught in Los Angeles in 1959 presented without commentary, they would be of some but limited value. With Lee Jaffe's splendid annotations they are not only fun to read but also instructional. Who in contemporary psychoanalytic writing has the wit of Greenson? Alongside the more serious material exist gems such as how to do an assessment of suitability for military service in 3 minutes. How does one tactfully confront a patient with a drinking problem whose husband has called claiming she urinates in inappropriate places? If Greenson got a call from a new patient who said only, ‘This is Mrs. X,’ he would say, ‘This is Dr. Greenson.’ If there was only silence he would say, ‘Your move.’ Even abstruse concepts come through clearly in Greenson's inimitable, colloquial style.

The book exists because not only did Jaffe recognize the current relevance of the transcripts, but also Greenson's widow Hilde had archived the material along with the rest of Greenson's papers at the San Diego Institute. One wonders why the papers are in San Diego rather than Los Angeles. Is it because of Greenson's somewhat controversial reputation behind the scenes rather than his theoretical stance? Despite the inadequacies of recording techniques of the time, all of Greenson's words are verbatim.

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