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Miller, L. (2016). Inquiries in psychoanalysis: collected papers of Edna O’Shaughnessy. J. Child Psychother., 42(3):358-363.

(2016). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 42(3):358-363

Book Reviews

Inquiries in psychoanalysis: collected papers of Edna O’Shaughnessy

Lisa Miller

Reading Edna O’Shaughnessy’s work gathered together like this makes a reader aware of two things among many: first, the service she has performed for us over time in assimilating, using and elucidating the complicated and unnerving work of Bion; and second, the particular gratitude she deserves from child psychotherapists. If we look at the contents page of this book, we find significant papers (‘The absent object’, ‘Bion’s theory of thinking’ as well as ‘Seeing with meaning and emotion’ and the important review of Rosenfeld’s ‘Impasse and interpretation’) first published in the Journal of Child Psychotherapy, and it is right that this review here in the JCP lays emphasis on what we owe to O’Shaughnessy’s loyalty to what she learnt as one of the first child psychotherapists to train at the Tavistock. This loyalty is not a question of polite acknowledgement or obligation. It is not loudly protested – or indeed protested at all – but actually lived in her awareness of the infant and the child present in every adult and every analysand.

Looking at the list of contents and reading through the papers, it becomes obvious that whether it deals with material from a child analysis or not, paper after paper depends on this awareness. For instance, her famous and indispensible paper ‘Can a liar be psychoanalysed?’ relies for its originality on the way it takes understanding down to the infantile level.

[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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