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Moran, M.G. (1995). The Use Of The Self. By Theodore Jacobs. Madison, CT: Int. Univ. Press, 1991, xxii + 238 pp., $27.50.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:1214-1216.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:1214-1216

The Use Of The Self. By Theodore Jacobs. Madison, CT: Int. Univ. Press, 1991, xxii + 238 pp., $27.50.

Review by:
Michael G. Moran

With the underlying premise that stalemated analyses occur because analysts “frequently overlook” all but the “surface layer” of “ordinary exchanges,” Theodore Jacobs proceeds in The Use of the Self to show the influence of nonverbal communications, shifts in the transference, and secrets in the underlayers of analytic process. The clinical usefulness of countertransference (with emphasis on the analyst's discomfort) also gets prominent attention in this clearly written book illustrated with numerous case examples. Those familiar with Jacobs's work will be happy to have under one cover the three essays published here for the first time and the eight others that have appeared previously in journals or in other books.

The author frequently refers to, and implicitly decries, “ordinary” analysis and technique. It seems to me that the problems he is addressing arise less from technique being too ordinary than with the exclusivity of the domain to which any selected technique is applied: if that domain is restricted to the patient's psyche and verbal communications, for whatever reason, the analysis is less robust than if applied also to the analyst's own psyche—dreams, fantasies, associations, and interpretations.

The book is most solidly grounded in drive-defense theory, but also acknowledges and makes use of contributions from object relations theory and self psychology. Yet it must be said that Jacobs tends to confuse “difficult to recognize” with “has received little attention in the literature.”

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