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Gabbard, G.O. (1999). Unorthodox Freud: The View from the Couch: Beate Lohser and Peter M. Newton New York: Guilford Press, 1996, xi + 241 pp., $32.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 47(4):1422.

(1999). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 47(4):1422

Unorthodox Freud: The View from the Couch: Beate Lohser and Peter M. Newton New York: Guilford Press, 1996, xi + 241 pp., $32.00.

Review by:
Glen O. Gabbard

The authors examine Freud's technique by studying reports from his analysands. A chapter each is devoted to the analyses of Abram Kardiner, the poet H. D., Joseph Wortis, John Dorsey, and Smiley Blanton. Like others who have gone before them, the authors conclude that Freud's actual technique diverged considerably from the revisionist model so often referred to as “classical.” Analysis of transference and resistance were relatively peripheral matters to Freud, who was preoccupied with making the unconscious conscious through free association. He would resort to exhortations, confrontations, and educational interventions to push the resistance aside. He often sounded critical of his patients, who were not always able to rise above their neurotic symptoms and say what was on their minds. The authors also argue that Freud never intended to use the word “neutrality,” as it is understood in English, and that he maintained a position in his own work that was far from neutral.

The discussions of Freud's technique with the five analysands are delightful to read. H. D., for example, describes Freud pounding on the headpiece of his old-fashioned horsehair sofa while insisting that H. D. did not think it was worth her while to love him because he was an old man. The authors' discussion of Freud's technique in contrast to the one that subsequently became the model in mainstream American psychoanalysis is also provocative and informative, if not entirely new.

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