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It is always useful to review an article’s bibliography and references to get a deeper understanding of the psychoanalytic concepts and theoretical framework in it.

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Bromberg, W. (1952). Sex Offenses. The Problems, Causes and Prevention: By Manfred Guttmacher. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1951. 159 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 21:429-430.

(1952). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 21:429-430

Sex Offenses. The Problems, Causes and Prevention: By Manfred Guttmacher. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1951. 159 pp.

Review by:
Walter Bromberg

This volume is the substance of Dr. Guttmacher's addresses at Stanford University in 1950 as participant in the annual Jacob Gimbel Lectures on Sex Psychology. In it is compressed the work and viewpoint of a psychiatrist of twenty years' experience in criminal courts, developed under the pressure of the urgent social needs of the courts. The author frequently explains that his numerous 'vignetted and silhouetted' case reports suffer from a lack of depth because of the restrictions of time imposed on court examiners. The psychoanalyst reading this volume will feel perhaps that the lectures lack penetration into the unconscious determinants of sexual offenses or in illumination of the interplay between defensive and instinctual forces in the sexual offender. The author recognizes this but in an attempt to visualize the first line of sociopsychological defense, he aims to dispel not uncommon misconceptions concerning the sexual criminal.

The opening lecture presents prevalent prejudices, (some of them included in recognized psychiatric writings), and theories that are not entirely supportable factually. There is a discussion on the paucity of biological correlation with the present state of knowledge of psychosexual development. The clinical section describes rapists, exhibitionists, pedophiliacs, fetishists, incest offenders and homosexuals. The inaccessibility of the individual offender is offset, the author feels, by information gained from the Rorschach and other projective tests. For the difficulty in establishing personal relationships, the plausible explanation is given that the criminal act is an impulsive essay into such a relationship. In this connection, the unconscious seductive participation of the child victim of a pedophilic attack is a subject which requires further study. There is a discussion of the part played by psychosis and mental deficiency in the sex criminal, and a note on the extreme phenomenological variability in the surface presented by the offender and in the psychological meaning of his specific crime.

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