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Gilmore, K. (1992). The Significance of Infant Observational Research for Clinical Work with Children, Adolescents, and Adults. (Workshop Series of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Monograph 5.): Edited by Scott Dowling, M.D. and Arnold Rothstein, M.D. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc., 1989. 257 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 61:465-469.
(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:465-469
The Significance of Infant Observational Research for Clinical Work with Children, Adolescents, and Adults. (Workshop Series of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Monograph 5.): Edited by Scott Dowling, M.D. and Arnold Rothstein, M.D. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc., 1989. 257 pp.
Review by: Karen Gilmore
This timely monograph brings together a variety of opinions on a topic that infiltrates much of the current literature, either directly or by implication. Discussions about the meaning of psychoanalytic process, the role of developmental psychology within psychoanalytic theory, the nature of therapeutic action in psychoanalysis, the integration of self psychology and the conflict model, the interface of psychoanalysis and neurobiology, indeed, the very domain of the discipline, commonly include references to new knowledge of infancy and its impact on the way we think about human psychology. Remarkably, such discussions often appear to rest on the question of whether information about real infants holds any scientific interest for psychoanalysts, with lines drawn between the object relations/self psychology school (yes) and the conflict/compromise formation school (no).
For the burgeoning field of infant psychiatry to become allied with a particular theoretical viewpoint would be unfortunate in the extreme, despite the inevitable fact that much of the research is informed by the particular persuasion of the investigators. Many of these and related issues are addressed in this collection of papers, helping to orient the reader in what may often seem like the hostile crossfire of a heated polemic.
The Workshop Series format is well suited to the task, with the Workshop papers sandwiched between a historical review and five discussion papers. Phyllis Tyson's review confronts the "contention" in the field; she understands its origins in the two broadly defined avenues of approach to infancy within psychoanalysis, the clinical/naturalistic observational approach and the academic/laboratory research approach. She points out the potential for dialogue and mutual enrichment. She introduces her paper with a reference to Sir James Barrie's Peter Pan, the infant who escapes from humanity into the world of fairies at seven days of age and
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