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Saul, L.J. (1956). The First Interview with a Psychiatrist: By Charles Berg, M.D. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1955. 240 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 25:593-594.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 25:593-594

The First Interview with a Psychiatrist: By Charles Berg, M.D. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1955. 240 pp.

Review by:
Leon J. Saul

This small volume is addressed to the layman, explaining to him what happens in the first—and later—psychoanalytic interviews. It is written simply with a sense of reality that would improve many publications for the profession. It might be read with profit by analysts and especially by students of psychoanalysis.

The book reflects modern trends in analysis. For example, it takes adequate cognizance of the ego and for the most part makes the esoteric realistic instead of doing the opposite. The importance of hostility is recognized. So is the significance of the emotional patterns of childhood, although perhaps the author forces the reconciliation of these a bit with a narrower definition of the Oedipus complex;—for does not every patient show that these patterns are shaped by conditioning from birth, not only during the Oedipal period? One may also question the value of the author's insistent interpretation of the submission of the patient to his father (in the chapter, Hate Before Love) exclusively in the anatomical terms of the unconscious.

In theory and practice, however, this volume generally reflects progress in integrating the older concepts with the recent advances in psychoanalytic knowledge. The thinking is liberal although interpretations are sometimes forced into psychoanalytic clichés. The book should prove of value in interpreting psychoanalysis to the public and in dispelling some of the resistance against it. For the good sense of the layman deserves more confidence than it has sometimes been accorded.

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