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King, M.V. (1987). Defense and Resistance: Historical Perspectives and Current Concepts: Edited by Harold T. Blum. New York: International Universities Press. 1985. Pp. 429.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 14:127-130.

(1987). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 14:127-130

Defense and Resistance: Historical Perspectives and Current Concepts: Edited by Harold T. Blum. New York: International Universities Press. 1985. Pp. 429.

Review by:
Monique V. King

To bring together a number of papers on defence and resistance—two of the most important issues in psychoanalysis—is both a thankless and a useful task. There is bound to be criticism about what is left out and there is bound to be much food for thought in comparing the points of view of major theoretical and clinical thinkers. It should leave the reader with some clarifications and much work to synthesize old and new ideas. Blum's book fulfills all these expectations.

Although I cannot do justice to each of 12 papers without writing a book, I hope to bring out some of the salient issues, especially those that are difficult and which these papers either clarify or focus on for further research.

The discussion of J. Sandler & A. Freud covers all the defences of Anna Freud's original book but stresses that repression forms the basis of all defences. Only when repression fails do other defences come into play. One could say that these other defences are stepping stones on the way to symptom formation. The quantitative rather than the qualitative aspects of defences or the type of defence mechanisms determines neurotic versus normal development. Wholly successful defences are dangerous to the ego in terms of restrictions and falsification of reality. The authors enable us in this way to think of the adaptive role of symptoms. They also carefully delineate the differences between defence mechanism, defensive manoeuvre, character and transference—all of which are part of the core resistance to the analytic process.

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