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Anthony, E.J. (1974). Dominique: The Analysis of an Adolescent: By Françoise Dolto. New York: Outerbridge & Lazard, Inc., 1971. 262 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 43:681-684.

(1974). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 43:681-684

Dominique: The Analysis of an Adolescent: By Françoise Dolto. New York: Outerbridge & Lazard, Inc., 1971. 262 pp.

Review by:
E. James Anthony

The most surprising thing about this book is the inordinate praise that has been lavished on it in France. The author has been referred to as 'the greatest of living clinicians' and 'a genius'. The reviewers dramatically compare her approach to that of the detective, Hercule Poirot, because of the indefatigable way in which she searches into the past. Robert Coles, who might be expected to know better, compares her to Anna Freud.

The book is also surprising in other ways. It purports to be about analysis, but the treatment is conducted once every two or three weeks for a total of twelve sessions; the patient is supposed to be an adolescent, and yet Dominique, at fourteen, manifests not a single characteristic of adolescence; the diagnosis is made of psychosis, and yet very little evidence is offered in support of it. The therapist herself appears to be a little confused about what she is treating but she denies, and rightly so, that the condition is one of mental retardation. On one occasion she speaks of the patient as suffering from obsessional neurosis, but even under this rubric there are not many analysts in this country who would consider him analyzable in terms of the usual analytic procedures and goals. Dominique is undoubtedly immature and developmentally deviant, but an organic etiology is never discussed.

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