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If you know the bibliographic details of a journal article, use the Journal Section to find it quickly. First, find and click on the Journal where the article was published in the Journal tab on the home page. Then, click on the year of publication. Finally, look for the author’s name or the title of the article in the table of contents and click on it to see the article.

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Shopper, M. (1995). Beyond The Symbiotic Orbit: Advances In Separation-Individuation Theory: Essays In Honor Of Selma Kramer, M.D. Edited by Salman Akhtar and Henri Parens. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press, 1991, 438 pp., $45.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:923-928.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:923-928

Beyond The Symbiotic Orbit: Advances In Separation-Individuation Theory: Essays In Honor Of Selma Kramer, M.D. Edited by Salman Akhtar and Henri Parens. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press, 1991, 438 pp., $45.00.

Review by:
Moisy Shopper

This is an outstanding collection of articles written by practitioners who have had extensive contact with Margaret Mahler, M.D., and Selma Kramer, M.D., and who have a long-standing interest in this area of development. Thirteen of the contributors are from Philadelphia. The others either trained there or in New York with Mahler or are those whose own interests led them toward the separation-individuation phase of development. The essays are divided into three groups: theoretical contrast, comparison, and update of separation-individuation theory; the contribution of theory to the understanding of psychopathology; and implications for treatment. References are conveniently placed at the end of each essay, and there is an extensive name and subject index. The editing was done well. The contributions read well, and for the most part there is a unity and integration binding the essays to one another, probably a reflection of the many years of discourse and study among the members of this tightly knit group.

The all too brief “Prelude” reviewing Dr. Kramer's odyssey to child analysis is a delightful way to introduce the volume and to help us understand why we, too, honor Dr. Kramer. It also serves to remind us how little we actually know about our esteemed colleagues and how much is gained by even a short biography. Too often we confuse analytic neutrality with personal anonymity.

The title most likely stems from Akhtar's chapter, “Three Fantasies,” wherein he suggests that his patient's fantasy of “being on a tether” is attributable to unresolved separation-individuation issues. The tether served to keep the patient within the symbiotic sphere of the mother. To approach the outer limit of this orbit caused the patient considerable anxiety, necessitating a retreat to a more central (symbiotic) core position.

[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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