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Glenn, J. (1995). Self And Motivational Systems: Toward A Theory Of Psychoanalytic Technique. By Joseph D. Lichtenberg, Frank M. Lachmann, and James L. Fosshage. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press, 1992, 261 pp., $39.95.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:236-240.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:236-240

Self And Motivational Systems: Toward A Theory Of Psychoanalytic Technique. By Joseph D. Lichtenberg, Frank M. Lachmann, and James L. Fosshage. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press, 1992, 261 pp., $39.95.

Review by:
Jules Glenn, M.D.

The Self and Motivational Systems is an intriguing book. It is an amalgam of powerful insights, enlightening observations of children, and descriptions of what happens in analysis, along with attacks on straw men. At times the authors prefer to parody analysis based on interpretation of defense, drive derivatives, and unconscious conflict.

Although in reading the book I agreed with much of what they had to say, often I was disconcerted by subtle (or not so subtle) distortions. While the book is often quite scholarly, its review of the literature on child development, for instance, is selectively so. Often concepts the authors proclaim as original and neglected by “traditional” analysts have in substance appeared in the writings of Freud and others, if under a different nomenclature. For instance, the authors emphasize the importance of “model scenes” constructed by analyst and analysand (Lichtenberg, 1989). These scenes occur in childhood but appear in current psychic functioning. They are not replicas of early experiences, but rather contain them; they may telescope earlier events. Although this sounds remarkably like the constructions Freud (1937), Kris (1956), and the Kris Study Group (Fine, Joseph, and Waldhorn, 1971), among others, have written about, neither Freud (1937) nor the Kris Study Group paper appears in the references, while Kris is given short shrift. Instead “model scenes” are contrasted with “screen memories,” implying that traditional analysts believe only in the defensive significance of memories.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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