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Stern, W.L. (2018). Balint Matters: Psychosomatics and the Art of Assessment, by Jonathan Sklar, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2018, 232pp.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 78(4):493-497.
   

(2018). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 78(4):493-497

Balint Matters: Psychosomatics and the Art of Assessment, by Jonathan Sklar, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2018, 232pp.

Review by:
Wendy L. Stern, D.M.H.

Michael Balint is known to most psychoanalysts for his work using therapeutic regression as explored in his famous book, The Basic Fault (1968). In Balint Matters, Jonathan Sklar fills a gap in the literature surrounding Balint's other contributions involving the study of psychosomatics and the related “art” (as Sklar aptly calls it) of effectively assessing patients’ presenting problems. Sklar's psychoanalytic heritage and involvement in the British Independent Group tradition—in particular, Ferenczi's and Balint's legacy of thought—provide a deep foundation for such an endeavor. Added to his psychoanalytic lineage, which includes an analysis with Enid Balint and supervisions with Paula Heimann, Harold Stewart, and Pearl King, Sklar brings a wide-ranging experience of psychosomatic assessment to bear from his psychiatric training at Friern and Royal Free Hospitals, his psychotherapy training at the Tavistock Clinic, his positions as consultant and head of the psychotherapy department at Addenbrooke's and Fulbourn Hospitals in Cambridge, his experiences as a Training Analyst and Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society, his decades as a Balint group leader with cohorts of physicians, and his long-standing and ongoing consultation work groups in Chicago and across Eastern Europe.

In some ways this book is akin to the scholarly and original clinical integrations of Sklar's first book, Landscapes of the Dark: History, Trauma, Psychoanalysis, (2011) in that it incorporates the work of psychoanalytic forebears into the realities of today's clinical practice.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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