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Michels, R. (1993). Psychodynamic Psychiatry in Clinical Practice: By Glenn O. Gabbard. Washington, DC: Amer. Psychiat. Press, 1990, xvi + 505 pp., $49.95.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 41:892-894.

(1993). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 41:892-894

Psychodynamic Psychiatry in Clinical Practice: By Glenn O. Gabbard. Washington, DC: Amer. Psychiat. Press, 1990, xvi + 505 pp., $49.95.

Review by:
Robert Michels, M.D.

In his introduction to this important and widely applauded new book, Glen Gabbard recounts how Carol Nadelson, the Editor-in-Chief of American Psychiatric Press, first invited him "to write a book that approached DSM-III-R from a psychodynamic perspective." He questioned why she had selected him and whether an edited volume with multiple authors might be preferable. Fortunately for the reader, she convinced him on both counts. His voice is clear and effective, far preferable to the mélange of a multiauthored text; and Gabbard is clearly the right person for the task. However, the specification of the mission was not so fortunate; DSM-III-R is not designed as an outline for a textbook of psychodynamic psychiatry and it is not up to the job. Gabbard does well in spite of this handicap, and the book will become a well deserved best seller. Rumor has it that it has already led to a spate of works in progress addressing the same general theme, including one to be published by the same press. We should look forward to Gabbard's own future contributions in this area, with the hope that next time he recognizes that he is the right person for the task but also insists on redefining that task.

The book is divided into three sections, the first on basic principles and treatment approaches in dynamic psychiatry, the second on "Axis I" disorders, and the third on "Axis II" disorders. The DSM-III-R structure leads to heavy emphasis on pathology and therapy with the focus on treatment of specific disorders.

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