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Lane, F.M. (1994). Forces of Destiny: By Christopher Bollas. London: Free Association Books, 1989, 223 pp., $19.50.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 42:277-281.

(1994). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 42:277-281

Forces of Destiny: By Christopher Bollas. London: Free Association Books, 1989, 223 pp., $19.50.

Review by:
Frederick M. Lane, M.D.

As the author states in his introduction, this book presents essays that at one time reflect an application of established psychoanalytic theory, and at another time seek new theoretical formulations. The theoretical roots of these reflections lie in the collective thinking of the socalled "middle" or independent group of British object-relations theorists, with a special debt to the generative thinking and ingenious formulations of D. W. Winnicott. The author has been one of the literary editors of Winnicott's works, and is a psychoanalyst as well as a teacher of English literature. Just as the fingerprint is the logo on the cover of this work, so Bollas emphasizes the "personal idiom" of each analysand—the person's "configuration in being," the "core of one." The first and major part of this skillfully written work is an attempt to elaborate a coherent theory based on Winnicott's concept of the "true self"—the inherited potential of the person which, with "good enough" parental facilitation, finds expression in spontaneous actions in life and within object relations. The true self is actualized through the medium of the person's relation to and use of others.

Bollas undertakes to systematize, in the form of a clinically based psychoanalytic theory, this concept of the emergence of the true self in a facilitating world of objects, and to link this concept with aspects of analytic technique while exploring new aspects of the therapeutic action of analysis. It is not an easy task, but to my mind, the author does it very well and addresses in unique fashion the "silent" (my term), noninterpretive aspects of the analytic relationship.

The true self is a kind of prestructured template for the development of the individual's potential which will emerge without ever reaching a stage of mentation, except as remote derivatives.

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