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Roche, R.C. (2016). The Transformation of Psychoanalysis: A Natural History of the Psyche, from the Big Bang to Guilt by E. César Merea FCE, Buenos Aires, 2013; 274 pp; 187 arg. Pesos aprox. 20€. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 97(1):235-239.

(2016). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 97(1):235-239

The Transformation of Psychoanalysis: A Natural History of the Psyche, from the Big Bang to Guilt by E. César Merea FCE, Buenos Aires, 2013; 274 pp; 187 arg. Pesos aprox. 20€

Review by:
R. Cruz Roche

This author has already provided us with important insights into his psychoanalytic theory, the following books being of particular note: The Scope of Psychoanalysis, Couples and Families: Extended Psyche and Interpersonal Psychoanalysis and The Critique of Pure Sublimation, among other significant contributions. Based on his clinical experience with individual patients, couples, families, and groups, as well as his involvement in clinical psychoanalytic work, he has elaborated the metapsychological concept of an extended ‘psyche’.

In this latest book, The Transformation of Psychoanalysis, he offers valuable reflections resulting from that long psychoanalytic and intellectual journey. As he advises us in the prologue (p. 13): “it was initially an attempt to assemble independent essays,” which on first consideration strike us as somewhat heterogeneous. Upon careful reading, however, they display a fundamental unity founded in the evolution of his thinking about some of the core themes of our discipline, woven together by a fertile theorizing inquisitiveness. The subtitle of the work, A Natural History of the Psyche, from the Big Bang to Guilt, we might note, is justified, even though not fully developed in a systematic, detailed fashion. It does give evidence of a radically naturalist mode of thinking, in the sense of a fiercely unitarian concept of reality. For this very reason, a multi-disciplinary approach is well suited to his subject matter and is in my opinion one of the principal merits of this work and its author. In this sense, the author reveals himself as profoundly loyal to the legacy of Freud, that “man of two cultures” as D. Anzieu described him. Freud never ceased to define psychoanalysis as a natural science, for which reason he has been so misunderstood by those who classify him as a simple biological reductionist (Laplanche). Merea, in contrast, bases his thinking upon the broadest possible reading.

Precisely because the book is not particularly well integrated, I find myself obliged to focus on each chapter of the work.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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