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Dickes, R. (1983). Homosexuality: By Charles W. Socarides, M.D. New York: Jason Aronson, 1978. 642 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 52:285-288.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 52:285-288

Homosexuality: By Charles W. Socarides, M.D. New York: Jason Aronson, 1978. 642 pp.

Review by:
Robert Dickes

Socarides's book on homosexuality is a welcome addition to the psychoanalytic literature. I know of no other volume offering as complete a psychoanalytic approach to this subject. The book is divided into several sections, the first of which discusses theoretical issues. It includes an excellent summary of the literature, the development of a basic theoretical position, and the selection of a classification system which, while in accord with a standard developmental approach, introduces some useful modifications.

The introductory chapters include a careful review of Freud's publications on the perversions as well as summaries of the work of many other contributors to our knowledge of perversions, particularly homosexuality. Socarides focuses special attention on Hanns Sachs's paper, "On the Genesis of Perversions," which he considers essential to our understanding of this topic. A translation of the paper is included as an appendix to the book. Margaret Mahler's developmental theories are also singled out as especially significant.

In terms of maturational sequences, Socarides states that the primary, phase-specific developmental difficulty is in the separation-individuation period. He points out that it is during this phase that the healthy development of gender identity occurs. He concludes that the homosexual fails to traverse this period successfully. Improper parenting, he states, contributes materially to a homosexual outcome. Socarides thus is a proponent of the view that homosexuality is primarily preoedipal in origin, although oedipal factors play an important additional role in some instances.

W. H. Gillespie first clearly discussed this matter.

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