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Ginsburg, S.A. (1986). Normality and the Life Cycle. A Critical Integration: Edited by Daniel Offer and Melvin Sabshin. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1984. 460 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 55:358-361.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:358-361

Normality and the Life Cycle. A Critical Integration: Edited by Daniel Offer and Melvin Sabshin. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1984. 460 pp.

Review by:
Sybil A. Ginsburg

There are three parts to this book. The first seven chapters (Part I) contain summaries of stages of the life cycle from infancy through extreme old age. The second part comprises four chapters, each of which views normality from a different theoretical and methodological perspective. Part III, written by the editors, is entitled "Toward an Integrative Approach to Normality and the Life

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Cycle." In it, Offer and Sabshin present their own views and ideas. They also provide a preface and a chapter on adolescence, in Part I.

In their chapters, Offer and Sabshin offer a further revision of the ideas contained in their earlier work on the concept of psychological normality. Normality is again examined from four aspects (as health, as utopia, as average, and as a transactional system that allows for changes through time). This latest work, subtitled "A Critical Integration," is intended to correlate a wide body of knowledge and contribute toward answering the question, "What is normal behavior really like?" They note that there is a particular impetus for making such an inquiry today, in that there is an economic atmosphere of increasing challenge to providing payment for mental health services.

Several of the life cycle chapters contain excellent summaries of details of the average expectable development and the potential crises characteristic of the various developmental phases. Nevertheless, the ambitious goal of the book is not fulfilled. The integrative section

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