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Baker, R. (2004). KEY CONCEPTS IN PSYCHOANALYSIS. By Stephen Frosh. New York: New York University Press, 2003, 112 pp., $60.00 hardcover, $18.00 paperback.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 52(4):1290-1297.

(2004). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 52(4):1290-1297

KEY CONCEPTS IN PSYCHOANALYSIS. By Stephen Frosh. New York: New York University Press, 2003, 112 pp., $60.00 hardcover, $18.00 paperback.

Review by:
Ronald Baker

In this slim volume Stephen Frosh tackles the daunting task of making core psychoanalytic concepts available in a comprehensible way to lay public and psychoanalytic scholars alike. His starting point is that despite the current criticism leveled at psychoanalysis, Freud's basic ideas have continued to prove appealing to students, the general population, and, not least, professionals and their patients struggling to make sense of themselves and their intense emotional conflicts.

He rightly maintains that Freudian thinking has entered into our culture in areas such as cinema, art, and literary criticism. Moreover, it has profoundly shaped our understanding of the problems around forming and maintaining deep and satisfying interpersonal relationships.

Frosh describes and defines each concept, thereby providing an overview of the therapeutic and cultural uses of central psychoanalytic terms. Examples of these concepts include the unconscious, repression, projection, fantasy, the oedipus complex, interpretation, resistance, interpretation, transference, and countertransference. It is apparent and no surprise that disputes relating to the key concepts of psychoanalysis are inevitable and will not easily be resolved. The text, therefore, is spirited and often controversial, not least because psychoanalytic concepts are complex and subject to manifold definitions and understandings. For this reason, practicing psychoanalysts will return to refresh and expand their understanding of key concepts throughout their careers.

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