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Slochower, J. (2016). Taking the Transference, Reaching towards Dreams: Clinical Studies in the Intermediate Area by M. Gerard Fromm Karnac Books, London, 2012; 240 pp; $51.68. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 97(4):1222-1226.

(2016). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 97(4):1222-1226

Taking the Transference, Reaching towards Dreams: Clinical Studies in the Intermediate Area by M. Gerard Fromm Karnac Books, London, 2012; 240 pp; $51.68

Review by:
Joyce Slochower

Gerard Fromm has written a clinically wise and engaging book that explicates the implications and applications of Winnicott's thinking to work with our most disturbed patients. The title, Taking the transference, embodies Fromm's core thesis: the analyst must be able to ‘take’, that is, tolerate and hold, the intense transference feelings that very ill patients bring to the consulting room.

This is a deeply phenomenological, non-polemical book, rich with complex case illustrations and thickened with Fromm's creative use of theory. It will engage a range of readers, from beginning therapists struggling with their most disturbed patients, to seasoned clinicians interested in expanding the relevance of Winnicottian ideas to borderline and psychotic patients.

Much of Fromm's clinical material is taken from patients seen at the Austen Riggs Center in Massachusetts. Riggs is an unusual - and impressive - treatment setting. In an open (non-coercive) therapeutic community, very disturbed patients receive treatment in individual psychoanalytic psychotherapy along with other community-based modalities.

Many of the patients Fromm describes would be diagnosed as borderline or psychotic. But Fromm challenges the usefulness of these categories and formulates clinical dynamics outside them. Fromm uses detailed case material to illustrate how the therapist can help very ill patients work through the kind of deep transference involvement that we more typically associate with intensive on-the-couch psychoanalytic treatment of neurotic patients.

[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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