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Herulf, B. (1994). Mind and Its Treatment: Veikko Tähkä. New York: International Universities Press, 1993. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 17(2):178-181.

(1994). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 17(2):178-181

Mind and Its Treatment: Veikko Tähkä. New York: International Universities Press, 1993

Review by:
Bengt Herulf

As the title of this rather thick (but easy to read) book of 490 pages indicates, it contains in fact two books; one regarding mind and the other dealing with treatment. It is compact, but well written and very instructive, and bears the stamp of the author's comprehensive clinical experience and wisdom. The book opens with a foreword by Robert S. Wallerstein. Tähkä spent two years in the USA (1987–89) at the famous Austin Riggs Center, which provided him with the opportunity to concentrate on the preparation of this book.

The author strives to present:

a comprehensive and consistent psychoanalytic view of the formation of the mind, followed by a scrutiny of the nature and clements of psychoanalytic understanding, and, finally an application of these views to clinical work with patients representing different levels of psychopathology.

The work is based on three general principles. Firstly Tähkä looks at the human mind as entirely subjective and experiential. He considers everything mental to be represented on some level of experience and avoids concepts that cannot be linked with represented experience. Thus, he prefers self language to ego-language. Secondly he underscores that the analyst's own mind is his only source of knowledge. His understanding of his patients depends upon his capacity to use his informative emotional as well as his rational responses to the patient and the patient's messages.

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