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Esman, A.H. (1971). The Hands of the Living God: By Marion Milner. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1969. 444 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 40:165-166.

(1971). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 40:165-166

The Hands of the Living God: By Marion Milner. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1969. 444 pp.

Review by:
Aaron H. Esman

Marion Milner has devoted years of psychoanalytic study to problems of creativity and, especially, to the creative role of body feelings and self-perceptions. In The Hands of the Living God (the title is from D. H. Lawrence) she continues her exploration of these matters in the context of the detailed report of the psychoanalytic treatment of a psychotic young woman. In the course of treatment extending over some twenty years, Mrs. Milner deepened her awareness of the significance of her own body states through her intimate and deeply intuitive grasp of her patient's struggles with the most primitive levels of self-perception and body image differentiation. She uses the patient's spontaneous drawings, of which endless quantities were produced over the years, as the basis for interpreting the fluctuations in her dawning sense of separateness and ego emergence.

Unfortunately, for this reader at least, all this is couched in the language and constructs of the Kleinian school; distinctions between symbol and metaphor are lost and reconstructions of the earliest self and object representations are derived from dream interpretations without benefit of associative confirmation from the patient. It must be said, too, that the variations in the patient's clinical state seem to have been determined far more by external events than by the analytic work described by the author. Indeed, whatever impact the analysis had appears to have been based less on the accuracy of Mrs.

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