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Pinsky, A. (1975). The Origin and Treatment of Schizophrenic Disorders by Theodore Lidz, Basic Books, New York, 1973, 145 pages, $7.95. Am. J. Psychoanal., 35(2):191-192.

(1975). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 35(2):191-192

The Origin and Treatment of Schizophrenic Disorders by Theodore Lidz, Basic Books, New York, 1973, 145 pages, $7.95

Review by:
Abe Pinsky, M.D.

This well-written and eminently readable monograph represents the outgrowth of the 1967 Salmon Lecture and is a compressed summary of the many papers Lidz and his co-workers have produced for roughly the past quarter of a century. Throughout this period Lidz has been an avid champion of the family as the main factor in schizophrenogenesis. He has brought to his work his excellent training, his sharp clinical acumen, and a wealth of clinical material with which he buttresses his theories.

Lidz has divided this book into three sections: (1) Family Settings and Schizophrenic Thought Disorder; (2) The Schizophrenic Thought Disorder; and (3) Therapy. The thesis of the first section is that the schizophrenic's parents provide the main causal thrust in the development of the illness. The families are divided into two groups: the skewed and the schismatic. The skewed family presents a picture of pseudoharmony which on closer examination reveals a profound distortion in which “one spouse passively acceded to the strange and bizarre concepts of the more dominant spouse concerning child rearing….” This type of family is more closely correlated with schizophrenic sons than daughters. The schismatic family is almost self-defining; it is “rent by parental discord which … left the family chronically divided into opposing factions….” The schismatic family is said to be the “usual” one from which “female schizophrenics emerge.” In both types of families, the common denominator is a highly destructive egocentricity on the part of one or both parents, a state which interferes with the child's autonomous development.

The second, and by far the best, section of the book is a thorough examination of the schizophrenic thought disorder and presents in fascinating detail such original concepts as “the intercategorical realm,” “egocentric cognitive regression,” linguistic regression, and other theoretical concepts, all of which have a solid internal consistency. Yet this section is not an unqualified success. Even if one could wholeheartedly agree that thought disorder is the major phenomenon in the schizophrenic process, one can regret that Lidz does not discuss the disturbances in affect that are so characteristic of schizophrenia. In fact, the word “affect” doesn't even appear in the index.

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