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Papernik, D.S. (1998). Unorthodox Freud. The View from the Couch. By Beate Lohser, Ph.D. and Peter M. Newton, Ph.D. New York/London: The Guilford Press, 1996. 241 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 67(4):737-738.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67(4):737-738

Unorthodox Freud. The View from the Couch. By Beate Lohser, Ph.D. and Peter M. Newton, Ph.D. New York/London: The Guilford Press, 1996. 241 pp.

Review by:
Daniel S. Papernik

Beate Lohser and Peter M. Newton have created a thoughtful and interesting work in which they attempt to differentiate between the technique of psychoanalysis as described in Sigmund Freud's writings and the technique as described by five analysands who wrote books about their treatment with him. Although modern psychoanalysis, with its emphasis on transference and resistance analysis, seems to evolve from aspects of Freud's technical papers, according to the authors it differs substantially from the analyses which Freud conducted. Therefore, Lohser and Newton believe that current “mainstream” psychoanalysis is not “Freudian” but rather a “post World War II invention.” And it is this “invention,” they feel, that includes “abstinence, incognito, and neutrality” (p. 1).

The five analysands in the order presented by the authors are Abram Kardiner, Hilda Doolittle (H.D.), Joseph Wortis, John Dorsey, and Smiley Blanton. Although the treatments were conducted in the 1920's and 1930's, the reminiscences were published many years later. In Doolittle's case, Lohser and Newton, in addition to describing her own account, quote from her unpublished correspondence with Bryher MacPherson, who paid for Doolittle's treatment. With the exception of Doolittle, a writer, all the narratives were by prominent American psychiatrists who remained in Vienna for a relatively brief, specified period of time. Lohser and Newton present the synopses in a highly readable fashion.

Unfortunately, the authors view “Freud's technique” and modern technique as rigidly static entities that are diametrically opposed to each other. As we know, the development of psychoanalytic practice, in Freud's time as well as in our own time, is in constant evolution—a dynamic process.

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