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Kaplan, D.M. (1967). Neurotic Styles. David Shapiro. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1965. xii+207 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 54A(1):188-189.

(1967). Psychoanalytic Review, 54A(1):188-189

Neurotic Styles. David Shapiro. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1965. xii+207 pp.

Review by:
Donald M. Kaplan

David Shapiro has written a remarkable book. Indeed, my fear is that the large clinical core of his book is so engrossing that certain of its other merits are apt to go overlooked.

In a succession of middle chapters, Shapiro has captured the mercurial essence of several common styles of neurotic functioning. No clinician, as he gets into this book, will fail to establish in his imagination a lively back-and-forth comparison between his own clinical experience and Shapiro's cogent renditions of the affect and cognition of the obsessive-compulsive, the paranoid character, the hysteric and a variety of impulsive disorders. Neurotic Styles is replete with sympathetic observations of certain enduring habits of functioning among patients which sooner or later acquire a looming importance in the clinical situation and test every ounce of the therapist's ingenuity and nerve; for the neurotic functioning which Shapiro is describing is that which the patient performs in the spirit of unassailable plausibility.

We know, for instance, that there are certain angry, guarded, masochistic individuals who seem not only to feel humiliated and victimized easily, but also to be alert for opportunities to be so. They sometimes seem to go far out of their way to seize a chance to feel victimized. It is sometimes possible to understand their interest and their satisfaction in this: each new injustice scores a moral point against the enemy. … Against the enemy the only weapon is moral protest. … They become militantly principled about personal justice and keenly interested in it. … An objectively remote possibility of affront stares them in the face, and only a fool would not recognize it. … [Thus] alertness to the possibility of humiliation … and ‘recognition' of instances of it is the only plausible thing.

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