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Skolnikoff, A.Z. (1983). An Introduction to Contemporary Psychoanalysis: By Anne E. Bernstein, M.D. and Gloria Marmar Warner, M.D. New York/London: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1981. 238 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 52:119-122.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 52:119-122

An Introduction to Contemporary Psychoanalysis: By Anne E. Bernstein, M.D. and Gloria Marmar Warner, M.D. New York/London: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1981. 238 pp.

Review by:
Alan Z. Skolnikoff

The authors have set themselves a difficult task: to present a concise summary of psychoanalysis today, with an exploration of its historical origins, evolving theories, and current practice. Current controversies of interest are also highlighted. The text, as is clearly stated in the preface, is written for an audience that is relatively unsophisticated about psychoanalysis. In general, considering the number of topics covered in a relatively brief space, they have succeeded. They write clearly about theory, interspersing numerous clinical examples to illustrate different theoretical points.

The opening chapters cover the historical perspective, with an emphasis upon the evolution of Freud's theories. They are brief but comprehensible. Chapter 4, on infantile sexuality, shifts easily from the original Freudian conceptions of psychosexual development and of perversions to the recent contributions of Galenson and Roiphe, Stern, and Person and Ovesey. In Chapter 5, "The Psychodynamics of the Neuroses," they employ the Dora and Rat Man cases and current clinical examples to illustrate various psychopathological entities. In Chapters 6 through 8, "Ego Psychology," "Object Relations Theory," and "Narcissistic Disorders and the Borderline," there is an attempt to synthesize many current theories as well as to review the major controversies concerning these theories. Their summary of the Kohut-Kernberg controversy on narcissism is particularly clear. Here the authors focus on the relationship between normal and pathological narcissism.

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