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Seelig, B.J. (1998). The Talking Cures. The Psychoanalyses and the Psychotherapies. By Robert S. Wallerstein, M.D. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1995. 587 pp. Psychoanal Q., 67(4):717-720.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67(4):717-720

The Talking Cures. The Psychoanalyses and the Psychotherapies. By Robert S. Wallerstein, M.D. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1995. 587 pp

Review by:
Beth J. Seelig

For over forty years, Robert Wallerstein has been a major contributor to the literature on psychoanalysis and the various psychoanalytic psychotherapies that have developed from it. The book under review is a masterful synthesis of the history of the field, its evolution, and its current trends. It is an informative, complex narrative that follows various threads of psychoanalytic thought, weaving them into a rich tapestry of past and present theoretical perspectives. Each chapter stands on its own, and the work as a whole tells a compelling story of the development of the field of psychoanalysis and the psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapies. It is a valuable reference work, an informative “Cook's tour” of the literature. Wallerstein summarizes the literature on each topic and makes suggestions for further reading even in areas he elects not to cover. He is not a totally neutral observer of the scene. An active participant in some of the ongoing debates in the field, he presents his own perspective clearly, distinguishing himself from other authors whose work he summarizes.

In his characteristically organized and encyclopedic fashion, Wallerstein informs his reader as to which areas he will not be covering and provides extensive references to the literature on many of the omitted topics. He confines himself to literature on analysis of adults and does not deal with the numerous nonpsychoanalytic psychotherapies, or with analytically based psychotherapy or the psychoanalysis of psychosis and impulse disorders. Not all of Wallerstein's “omissions” are actual. He states that he has omitted the extensive literature on countertransference. However, although he does not have a section or chapter devoted to a review of the topic, it is covered extensively as a part of the material presented in various sections, particularly the last section of the book which is devoted to recent theoretical and technical literature. Research into psychoanalysis and psychotherapy is partially covered. The reader is provided with a review of the very important Psychotherapy Research Project of the Menninger Foundation which was directed by Wallerstein for many years, and there is a chapter on outcome research in the final section.

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