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Berman, E. (1994). The Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Technique by R. Horacio Etchegoyen: trans. P. Pitchon. London: Karnac Books, 1991, xx + 863 pp.. Psychoanal. Dial., 4(1):129-138.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 4(1):129-138

The Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Technique by R. Horacio Etchegoyen: trans. P. Pitchon. London: Karnac Books, 1991, xx + 863 pp.

Review by:
Emanuel Berman, Ph.D.

To judge by my first reaction when noticing this book in a bookstore, and by conversations with numerous colleagues later on, Etchegoyen's work arouses in analysts an instantaneous transference experience predating (and, more worrisome, maybe at times preventing) any consideration of its contents. This reaction is precipitated by the size of the volume, its price, and its authoritative title, in combination with the awareness that its Argentinian author is the incoming president of the International Psychoanalytic Association.

This transferential reaction may have many variations, often combining elements of awe, anxiety (ought I know it all?), shame (how limited is my knowledge in comparison), admiration, and oedipal aggression. Whether we interpret it by invoking the superego, the ego ideal, the parental phallus, or Lacan's “Subject Supposed to Know,” we may agree that the fantasies aroused by this huge volume are related to each individual analyst's transference to Psychoanalysis (with a capital P … or perhaps spelled all in capitals?).

Many analysts may, as a result, avoid buying the book or avoid reading it even if they bought it. Undoubtedly, my volunteering to review it was my own active technique to deal counterphobically with this paralyzing awe. Paradoxically, however, my experience of its size changed while I read it; if I stay with my oedipal metaphor, it was a shift from a child's fear of the giant father to the compassionate realization of an older son that his father is actually overweight. The length of the book is a result


Dr. Berman is Training and Supervising Analyst at the Israel Psychoanalytic Institute, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Haifa, and Faculty Member of the Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, New York University.

© 1994 The Analytic Press, Inc.

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