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Esman, A.H. (2014). Experiencing Endings and Beginnings. By Isca Salzberger-Wit-tenberg. London: Karnac, 2013. 195 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 83(3):745-747.

(2014). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 83(3):745-747

Experiencing Endings and Beginnings. By Isca Salzberger-Wit-tenberg. London: Karnac, 2013. 195 pp.

Review by:
Aaron H. Esman

This book presents a challenge to the reviewer: it is at once a memoir, a survey of phases in human development, an account of the clinical practice of a gifted psychotherapist who has served in a number of ways during a professional lifetime at the Tavistock Clinic, and a guide to others who seek to learn from her experience. As a memoir, it is a gripping account of a child in a German-Jewish family, their escape from Nazi terror, her mixed welcome in England, her supportive education in a Quaker school and at Birmingham University, and her “need to understand more about human nature,” which ultimately “led me to psychoanalysis and to becoming an analytic psychotherapist hoping to bridge the gap between the broad-minded spiritual-religious orientation gained in childhood and psychoanalytic insights acquired in adulthood” (p. 11).

Isca (I will use her given name, as others do, because of the complexity of her surname) organizes her text around the human experience of transitions encountered in the process of growing up—“Endings and Beginnings.” Following the views of Klein and strongly influenced by Bion, she begins with speculations about intrauterine experience and the “catastrophic anxiety (terror) at being separated from the mother's body” (p. 17).

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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