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Gut, E. (1980). Das Drama des begabten Kindes und die Suche nach dem wahren Selbst: Alice Miller. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1979. (Swedish translation, Wahlström & Widstrand, Stockholm, due summer 1980.). Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 3(1):46-50.

(1980). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 3(1):46-50

Das Drama des begabten Kindes und die Suche nach dem wahren Selbst: Alice Miller. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1979. (Swedish translation, Wahlström & Widstrand, Stockholm, due summer 1980.)

Review by:
Emmy Gut

In this book, Miller combines two papers that have been published in English translation (Miller, 1979a, 1979b) with an unpublished third chapter entitled “Über Verachtung” (on contempt). The great value of this book rests in its keen clinical understanding and vivid description of certain pathogenic developmental processes which are not only very common in the population at large but particularly typical for persons who seek psychoanalytic therapy and training.

A drastic condensation cannot do justice to Miller's views, least of all to what she has to say about the therapeutic process; still I have no choice but to state some of her major theses briefly as follows (with some of the quotes taken from her own summaries:

1)   If a person has not received a mothering figure's “appropriate emotional response, mirroring and respect”, that is: the “right narcissistic supplies”, he or she will not develop the ability to experience his feelings as belonging to his own self.

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