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Tip: To see Abram’s analysis of Winnicott’s theories…

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In-depth analysis of Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theorization was conducted by Jan Abrams in her work The Language of Winnicott. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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Temperley, J. (1985). Marital Therapy by C. Clulow, Aberdeen University Press, pp. 108, £9.50 hardback & £5.50 paperback. Marital Violence by Norman Johnson, Sociological Review, Monograph 31, Routledge & Kegan Paul, £8.95 pp. 195.. Psychoanal. Psychother., 1(3):93-96.

(1985). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 1(3):93-96

Book Review

Marital Therapy by C. Clulow, Aberdeen University Press, pp. 108, £9.50 hardback & £5.50 paperback. Marital Violence by Norman Johnson, Sociological Review, Monograph 31, Routledge & Kegan Paul, £8.95 pp. 195.

Review by:
Jane Temperley

These two very different books approach the subject of marital discord from a paranoid and a depressive position respectively. Marital Violence takes a paranoid position in seeing wife-battering as a manifestation of patriarchy, the organisation of society based on male power over women. Men are the accused and so too is the existing social establishment which bolsters itself and ensures its survival by supporting the continuance of male domination. Mental health professionals and social welfare agencies are seen as the instruments by which the phenomena of male domination are neutralised by re-defining the issues and rendering them particularised and susceptible to social management as instances of personal pathology. Marital violence is equated with wife-battering until the last chapter in the book which is devoted to debunking the notion of the ‘battered husband’ syndrome. It is symptomatic of the bias of the authors that when conjugal murders are analysed in this last chapter, the fact that in 43% of the sample the wife was the murderer is minimised by asking us to consider that the husbands used much more violence in their murders and that the wives were provoked.

No consideration is given at all to the psychology of the victims. The women are simply unfortunate, ill-informed victims. The men, on the other hand, are given no voice. Women are extensively questioned and their histories studied but the experience of their assailants is as excluded from this book as they themselves are from the refuges which shelter their battered wives.

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