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Whyte, R. (1995). Between Art and Science. Essays in Psychotherapy and Psychiatry. By Jeremy Holmes. London: Routledge. Pp. 227. £14.99. Psychoanal. Psychother., 9(1):99-99.

(1995). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 9(1):99-99

Book Review

Between Art and Science. Essays in Psychotherapy and Psychiatry. By Jeremy Holmes. London: Routledge. Pp. 227. £14.99

Review by:
Robert Whyte

This is a collection of essays, versions of most of which the author has published in journals, including this journal, at previous times. To whom is the book addressed? I think that this question is best answered in the author's own words, ‘It is perhaps aimed at that important middle ground between scholarship and populism — the professional psychotherapist and psychiatrist who wish to reflect on wider aspects of their subject.’

The book is divided into four parts.

Part I Analytic Psychotherapy includes essays on identity, dreams, obsessional phenomena, adolescence, supportive therapy, and the sibling in psychotherapy.

Part II Individuals and Families consists of three essays comparing individual and family pathology and psychotherapy. It includes a fascinating reconstruction of Freud's Dora case, seen in family therapy terms.

Part III Literature and Psychotherapy contains three essays which look at the similarity between poetic and psychotherapeutic activity; demonstrate a sequence fundamental to successful psychotherapy, relating it to other creative activities; and look at inequalities.

Part IV Psychotherapy and Psychiatry discusses community psychiatry and the author's guess at the future of psychotherapy. It has an essay which includes a moving account of a psychotherapy which was unfortunately interrupted by the patient's suicide.

The style is engaging and highly readable, although it is also scholarly (despite the author's protestations to the contrary). The book could be read either straight through, or picked up and dipped into from time to time. It is beautifully illustrated by clinical and literary examples. Links are made between disciplines and subjects which often seem separate or opposed, and so it is a thought-provoking book. Its main appeal will be to psychotherapists, and it will be of interest to both beginners and experienced practitioners. It would make a useful addition to psychiatric libraries.

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