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Smith, H.F. (1990). How does Treatment Help? On the Modes of Therapeutic Action of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy edited by Arnold Rothstein Monograph 4, Workshop Series of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, 1988, x + 232 pp., $32.50. Psa. Books, 1(2):173-183.
(1990). Psychoanalytic Books, 1(2):173-183
How does Treatment Help? On the Modes of Therapeutic Action of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy edited by Arnold Rothstein Monograph 4, Workshop Series of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, 1988, x + 232 pp., $32.50
Review by: Henry F. Smith, M.D.
As editor of the Workshop Series of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Arnold Rothstein has been documenting the multiple perspectives in clinical psychoanalysis at the present time. In this latest monograph, the fourth in the series, many of our most articulate teachers present their ideas; as we might expect, they do not speak with one voice. In fact, one of the most important contributions this book makes is to offer for our examination so many different psychoanalytic perspectives, all from within the United States, yet each with its own unique language. How to examine them, what conclusions to draw, and what our next avenue of inquiry might be, become fascinating matters.
I am reminded of a patient, herself a therapist, who at certain critical moments of the transference would remark, “All those guys—they all tell you to do it a different way, and they all sound so sure. How can they all be right?” Whatever personal meaning her question had for her and for me, her observation must be included in any discussion of this volume; it is the implicit focus for each of the discussants in the book. My patient's question raises many important corollary questions, some of which have been touched on by various contributors to this volume, questions such as, What do we know? How do we know what we know? What impact do we have when we teach what we think we know? Why, if we know anything at all, do we seem to “talk past each other” (p. 177), as Boesky has succinctly put it in his carefully reasoned discussion of the chapters in this book.
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