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Blandford, N. (1998). The Baby and the Bathwater. Karnac. £17.95. International Universities Press. $35.00. Pp. xviii + 172.. Psychoanal. Psychother., 12(1):79-81.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 12(1):79-81

The Baby and the Bathwater. Karnac. £17.95. International Universities Press. $35.00. Pp. xviii + 172.

Review by:
Nicola Blandford

Dr Nina Coltart died on June 24 1997. This, her final book, is a collection of essays, many of which have been published before, but including her first and last papers. It is a summary of her professional development and an account of her approach to the work of a British Psychoanalyst in the latter part of the twentieth century.

Coltart qualified as a doctor at St Bartholomew's, London, after first reading Modern Languages at Oxford. In 1969 she became a full member of the British Psycho-Analytical Society and went on to give service as training analyst, supervisor, teacher and administrator, as well as ten years as Director of the London Clinic of Psycho-Analysis. Rather bravely Coltart acknowledged that she preferred the practice of psychotherapy to that of psychoanalysis. She specialised in consultations for diagnosis and assessment, and over a period of thirty years did over 3,000. This obviously required a good network of therapists to refer patients on to, and a responsibility to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of those therapists.

Of the ten essays here, all but one were recently written. The exception is the first, ‘The Man with Two Mothers’, an account of her treatment of a very damaged man with a perversion. This was her qualifying paper to the Society; she can comment that perhaps it now seems old-fashioned in its classically Freudian language, but she makes the important point that it can be very helpful to have to treat a perverse patient early in one's career. It is a clear and moving clinical account.

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