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Gill, M.M. (1977). Psychotherapy and Multiple Personality: Selected Essays. By Morton Prince: Edited by Nathan G. Hale, Jr. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1975. 328 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 46:700-701.

(1977). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 46:700-701

Psychotherapy and Multiple Personality: Selected Essays. By Morton Prince: Edited by Nathan G. Hale, Jr. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1975. 328 pp.

Review by:
Merton M. Gill

Morton Prince, a contemporary of Freud, was a prominent Boston neurologist and psychiatrist. He was the founder of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology in 1906, the American Psychopathological Association in 1910, and the Harvard Psychological Clinic in 1927. He is best known today for his studies in hypnosis and multiple personality and chiefly for his book The Dissociation of a Personality (1906), an account of his work with the Radcliffe student, Christine Beauchamp.

The present volume includes a brief but informative introductory essay by Nathan Hale, known to psychoanalysts for his valuable studies in the history of psychoanalysis in America, and a selection of papers by Prince that span his professional output.

Although the papers are of historical interest, I cannot agree with the editor that they "remain important … chiefly because they help explain phenomena which still defy final solution" (p. 1). Hypnosis and multiple personality do defy solution, but it is not true that Prince's writings are still significant in understanding them. His views on hypnosis and multiple personality do not take adequate account of the crucial role of transference in these phenomena, nor was he aware of the iatrogenic factor in multiple personality.

Closer to Janet than to Freud, Prince did not understand psychoanalysis. As late as 1926 he wrote, "After as critical study as I have ever given to anything, the reasoning by which hypnotic phenomena are induced on this theory of 'transference' seems to me a mere hodge-podge of logic. It is useless to discuss it here; yet I think that this sexual theory may be modified and restated in a form to give it a certain plausibility, though it would no longer be Freudian" (p. 304).

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