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Schwaber, E.A. (1995). The Ego And Analysis Of Defense. By Paul Gray. Northvale, NJ: Aronson, 1994, 288 pp., $40.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:1208-1213.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:1208-1213

The Ego And Analysis Of Defense. By Paul Gray. Northvale, NJ: Aronson, 1994, 288 pp., $40.00.

Review by:
Evelyne Albrecht Schwaber

Paul Gray emerged almost instantly at the forefront of psychoanalytic theoreticians and clinicians when his paper “Psychoanalytic Technique and the Ego's Capacity for Viewing Intrapsychic Activity” appeared in this journal in 1973. This paper has approached classic status, having become a staple on Institute reading lists. Essentially, its theme is psychoanalytic listening, or, as Gray described it, analytic perception. Gray noted at the time that this was one of the least well conceptualized aspects of our field, and one of the least discussed. His eloquently written paper seemed to have galvanized further interest in this area of our work.

Since then, Gray has extended the elaboration of his views in a series of papers on technique and on supervision. “The Ego and Analysis of Defense” is a compilation of these writings, nearly all of which had been previously published. Together with Samuel Ritvo's helpful foreword, summarizing the main chapters, and the author's own preface, orienting the reader to the evolution and development of his ideas, it offers a stimulating overview of the course of Gray's thinking.

In his 1973 paper, Gray differentiated between our mode of “free-floating” listening when the analyst is involved in attention to drive derivatives and that of a more purposeful stance when attending to defense against drive derivatives. The latter, he argued, drew upon a different aspect of the analyst's perceptual apparatus.

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