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Azorin, L.A. (1961). Psychoanalysis and the Family Neurosis. Martin Grotjahn, M.D. W. W. Norton, New York, 1960.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 21(2):299-300.

(1961). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 21(2):299-300

Psychoanalysis and the Family Neurosis. Martin Grotjahn, M.D. W. W. Norton, New York, 1960.

Review by:
Louis A. Azorin, M.D.

Dr. Grotjahn deserves much credit for writing this book. It is a conscientious effort based on his own extensive personal experience as a therapist and training analyst. In addition, it bespeaks his wide acquaintance with the history and current literature in this very important area.

What is most refreshing is his flexible approach in dealing with problems involving families of the patient. He notes that some of these problems have too often been considered “hopeless because of the resistance of the paitient.” In these situations, Grotjahn has resorted to therapeutic and diagnostic interventions which a less courageous analyst might dismiss as “not really psychoanalysis, playing God, and unjustifiable manipulation.”

Into these rather special situations, Grotjahn has brought his humility and his interest and understanding of family dynamics, and particularly his respect for the importance of unconscious familial communications. The latter aspect was very well highlighted by Johnson and Szurek in their paper, “The Genesis of Anti-Social Acting Out of Children and Adults.”

Grotjahn's chapter on “Treatment of the Family Neurosis in Analytic Group Psychotherapy” is especially enlightening. Here he illustrates how one partner of a married couple in analysis, who feels the marriage to be bogged down, can benefit from having his spouse present at his individual and/or group sessions for a short time, thus exposing the particular neurotic interdependency.

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