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Eigen, M. (1983). Plea For a Measure of Abnormality. Joyce McDougall. New York: International Universities Press, 1980, 493 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 70:281-283.

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(1983). Psychoanalytic Review, 70(2):281-283

Plea For a Measure of Abnormality. Joyce McDougall. New York: International Universities Press, 1980, 493 pp.

Review by:
Michael Eigen, Ph.D.

Joyce McDougall's work combines sensitivity and clarity in ways which, I like to think, rub off a bit on those who venture near. She seems to naturally gravitate to the most creative work of the field—most notably, Winnicott, Bion, Lacan, the Kleinians. She absorbed most of these authors before they

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were widely known. Unlike Bion and Lacan, her work is quite accessible to the ordinary psychoanalytic reader and does not require a “translator.” She communicates in an immediate, personal way. One ought to say, also, that her work is not limited to any particular camp. It is difficult to find a creative current in the field that she does not use effectively. I am told that in Paris (she is a New Zealander who began her analytic training in London and spent most of her professional life in Paris) she is one of those rare analysts accepted by all conflicting schools.

Her work is an excellent example that it is not necessary to be “original” in order to be creative. The way she makes the best in the field her own illuminates this concept. She speaks through her own struggles and, in a quite real sense, psychoanalysis shines through her. I can strongly recommend her to beginners and experienced practitioners alike. At first glance her work may seem simple. This is an illusion. Her work is clinically subtle and precise. It is a work one can and should engage intimately, not simply with head or feelings but with both My sense of self and my knowledge

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