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Gedo, J.E. (1991). Multiple Realities in Clinical Practice: By John S. Kafka, M.D. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1989. 199 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 60:129-132.

(1991). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 60:129-132

Multiple Realities in Clinical Practice: By John S. Kafka, M.D. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1989. 199 pp.

Review by:
John E. Gedo

There comes a time in the career of analytic veterans when they experience a strong urge to sum up the clinical wisdom acquired in the course of several decades in a manner that clarifies their personal position within psychoanalysis. This is what John Kafka has done in a slim volume that sums up his current views and traces their origins in a variety of professional experiences. Kafka gives special emphasis to his early exposure to the cultures of Austria, France, and the United States, to an education that stressed the humanities (with particular reference to epistemology), to professional training as a psychologist (before switching to medicine and psychiatry), and to his years on the staff at Chestnut Lodge (where he engaged in the long-term therapy of psychotic patients)—in addition to his more expectable maturation as a psychoanalyst.

When I agreed to review Kafka's book, I had no idea that it would present me with the task of bridging an enormous chasm between the author's intellectual universe and my own; I was therefore shocked to discover that this volume is largely focused on the applicability of data and concepts from cognate disciplines about which I know next to nothing. Not only do I belong to that majority of analysts whose "philosophobia" Kafka rightly decries; I am also ignorant of modern physics, of neurochemistry, of perceptual and cognitive psychology, and of the detailed phenomenology of schizophrenia—matters essential for Kafka's argument.

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