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Jourard, S.M. (1971). The Second Look: The Reconstruction of Personal History in Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis. Samuel Novey. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1968. xiii+162 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 58(2):318-319.
  

(1971). Psychoanalytic Review, 58(2):318-319

The Second Look: The Reconstruction of Personal History in Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis. Samuel Novey. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1968. xiii+162 pp.

Review by:
Sidney M. Jourard

The late Dr. Novey impresses the reader of this book as a warm, technically competent psychotherapist whose aim was to make himself, his patients, and the treatment transaction intelligible. He turned to the discipline of history for a perspective on these questions. To see the obvious parallel between the ‘taking’ of a case history for therapeutic purposes, and the ‘doing’ of historiography is a flash of brilliance, and the biases, theories, and hopes of psychotherapist and historian alike have ample opportunity to shape the history that is written. One cannot help but wish that professional historians took as great pains to become aware of their biased perspectives as do the psychoanalysts.

The first four chapters of this little book are devoted to a consideration of the function, philosophy, and meaning of history, whether of a society or a patient, with a further exploration of the relevance of validating historical events as reported by patients. The author consistently employs therapeutic relevance as the criterion for assessing whether or not such validation is called for.

In a chapter entitled, “If You Say Good Morning, You Are A Hypocrite,” Dr. Novey explores some of the vicissitudes of verbal communication in its revealing and concealing functions. I found this chapter especially interesting, in view of my own interest in self-disclosure as a research area. Novey's clinical experiences with patients’ self-disclosure parallels some of our experimental findings—a not surprising occurrence, since many of our research hypotheses were generated through reflection upon the psychotherapeutic process.

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