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Joseph, B. (1971). I. Salzberger-Wittenberg: Psycho-Analytic Insight and Relationships: A Kleinian Approach. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1970. Price £1.50.. J. Child Psychother., 3(1):66-67.

(1971). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 3(1):66-67

I. Salzberger-Wittenberg: Psycho-Analytic Insight and Relationships: A Kleinian Approach. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1970. Price £1.50.

Review by:
Betty Joseph

There is always a problem in carrying knowledge acquired in one field over to an allied field in such a way as to be sound, comprehensible and really useful. This book courageously and, I think, successfully aims to do this. The idea of “Psycho-Analytic Insight and Relationships”, which is one of the series of the Library of Social Work, is to indicate some of the ways in which psychoanalytic theory as developed by Melanie Klein can help social workers to understand their clients and their relationships with them. The author herself was a caseworker before going on to train in child psycho-therapy, so that her book has the advantage of being written by someone who has worked in depth with children, as well as knowing at first hand the extraordinarily rich and complex problem of trying to help people who present with difficulties in their lives as well as in their environments. In this field the aims of the worker have to be rethought with each new case.

Mrs. Wittenberg describes in her introduction the background to this work; she brought together a small group of experienced caseworkers from different fields and had joint discussions with them. The problems and examples arising from these discussions, illuminated by the author's psycho-analytic insight, form the basis of this book. This method of working gives considerable richness to the book, since the theory which the author outlines is always based on, or linked with, human material and therefore generally gives a feeling of immediate relevance to casework. This one senses as soon as one gets into the book—the first two sections of Part I deal with feelings—the feelings that the caseworker brings into the relationship with the client, and the client into the relationship with the caseworker. These are illustrated and briefly discussed, and the whole of the first part of the book deals with “Aspects of a Relationship”. Here, as throughout, a major unspoken point emerges—the importance of the link between analytic knowledge and spontaneous human understanding and insight. The book is in itself a demonstration of how the caseworker's ability to tolerate and help with pain and discomfort, as well as hope and progress, in her clients, must be based on real humanity, but that humanity and warmth is not enough.

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