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Kalsched, D.E. (2002). MITRANI, JUDITH L. Ordinary People and Extra-Ordinary Protections: A Post-Kleinian Approach to the Treatment of Primitive Mental States, No. 40 in the New Library of Psychoanalysis, gen. ed. Susan Budd. London: Brunner-Routledge, 2001. Pp. 186. Pbk. £17.99.. J. Anal. Psychol., 47(2):319-321.
(2002). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 47(2):319-321
MITRANI, JUDITH L. Ordinary People and Extra-Ordinary Protections: A Post-Kleinian Approach to the Treatment of Primitive Mental States, No. 40 in the New Library of Psychoanalysis, gen. ed. Susan Budd. London: Brunner-Routledge, 2001. Pp. 186. Pbk. £17.99.
Review by: Donald E. Kalsched
This generous and humane book begins with an epigraph written by the author's mentor and friend Frances Tustin who said:
Yes, we are psychoanalysts, and of course you may join us, but you know, we're just barmy people treating barmy people!
In the same spirit, Judith Mitrani wants to claim the realm of the ordinary from the illusions of those ‘extraordinary’ (in my own language ‘archetypal’) defensive phantasy/defences to which we resort when the primal agonies and ecstasies of infancy go un-mediated by a ‘good enough’ environment, and thus fail to be humanized. It is this ordinary human reality that the author hopes psychoanalysis may help us to develop, freeing us from the omnipotence-driven survival tactics of our super-human defences - including psychoanalytic theory itself.
Readers of her first book (above) will find many of its creative ideas elaborated here as well: (1) the notion of those unprocessed primal terrors that remain as ‘unmentalized experience’, (2) the ‘extra-ordinary defences’ that help seal off these unbearable anxieties in a kind of ‘autistic enclave’ and (3) the ‘adhesive pseudo-object relations’ that characterize the ‘autosensual/adhesive manoeuvres’ of individuals who are trying desperately, in their parasitic ways of relating, to stave off the awareness of unmitigated panic within.
In addition there are original contributions here, one of which, in particular, will be of interest to Jungian readers; viz.
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