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The Author Section is a useful way to review an author’s works published in PEP-Web. It is ordered alphabetically by the Author’s surname. After clicking the matching letter, search for the author’s full name.

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Perman, G.P. (2012). Descent into Darkness, The Psychodynamics of Mental Illness: An Introduction and Illustration in the Form of a Novel, by Richard D. Chessick, M.D., Ph.D., Xlibris, 237 pp.. Psychodyn. Psych., 40(2):341-345.

(2012). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 40(2):341-345

Book Reviews

Descent into Darkness, The Psychodynamics of Mental Illness: An Introduction and Illustration in the Form of a Novel, by Richard D. Chessick, M.D., Ph.D., Xlibris, 237 pp.

Review by:
Gerald P. Perman, M.D.

In Descent into Darkness—The Psychodynamics of Mental Illness: An Introduction and Illustration in the Form of a Novel (hereafter referred to as Descent), Richard Chessick has integrated his skills as a story teller, psychoanalyst and student of philosophy to create what he calls a “didactic novel” in which “lectures and discussions and arguments are interspersed with dramatizations showing how the basic assumptions behind psychodynamic psychotherapy … can be experienced in actual everyday living situations.” His intention is to “help students and therapists in the mental health field learn psychodynamic psychotherapy and psychopathology as well as to acquaint educated interested persons outside the field with the issues involved” (p. xix). This is a tall order but Chessick is up to the task.

In Descent, aging psychoanalyst, Martin, has organized a study tour to Turkey, the cradle of Western civilization. The novel is a memoir of Martin's recollections of the tour as dictated into a tape recorder from his bed in a cardiac intensive care unit. The chapter titles are the tour cities beginning with Chicago. Martin is widowed and the only member of the tour traveling unaccompanied. The other characters in the book serve as intellectual and emotional foils for Chessick to achieve his above-stated goals. These characters include: Martin's former patient J.,

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