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Rosenthal, H. (1958). Perspectives In Personality Theory. Edited by Henry P. David, Ph.D. and Helmut von Bracken, Dr. phil. et med. 406 pp. Basic Books, Inc., New York, 1957. $6.50.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 18(2):204-206.
(1958). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 18(2):204-206
Perspectives In Personality Theory. Edited by Henry P. David, Ph.D. and Helmut von Bracken, Dr. phil. et med. 406 pp. Basic Books, Inc., New York, 1957. $6.50.
Herbert Rosenthal, M.D.
This book, according to its introductory chapter, is “aimed to hasten the process of international integration of psychological science,” a praiseworthy objective. Its twenty-three contributors, five of whom are psychiatrists, discuss: 1) The European trends of personality theory (Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Italy and France), 2) The theory of personality (neurohumoral factors, personality growth, psychoanalytic theory in connection with personality theory, personality dynamics, femininity and existential psychology, “the levels of the mind,” “the stratification of personality,” and problems of character change), and 3) The methodology (projection and personality, the phenomenological and experimental approach to psychology and new concepts in experimental depth psychology). In addition, three sections are devoted to integrating the above.
This presents the reader with a difficult task, since he is confronted by a variety of concepts with different frames of reference, going from the practical and clinical to the theoretical and philosophical. Only if one is firmly grounded in a wide experience can he afford to expend the effort necessary to digest the great volume of material. Because of this reviewer's own clinical bias, he was most interested in sections dealing with psychoanalysis.
In her article on “Perspectives in Psychoanalytic Theory,” Else Frankel-Brunswick states that “psychoanalysis did not altogether avoid the pitfalls of motivational relativism and genetic dissolution of overt adjustmental values.” She continues, “This onesideness has been remedied to a certain extent in the more recent shift from an almost exclusive emphasis on the id and motivation to an increased concern with the ego, that is with reality oriented behavior and adjustment in general.”
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