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Esman, A.H. (2009). Hurry Down Sunshine. By Michael Greenberg. New York: Other Press, 2008, 234 pp., $22.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 57(2):511-514.

(2009). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 57(2):511-514

Hurry Down Sunshine. By Michael Greenberg. New York: Other Press, 2008, 234 pp., $22.00.

Review by:
Aaron H. Esman

Manic-depressive disorder, or in our present nosological jargon bipolar disorder (for a review, see Healy 2008), has had a checkered career in psychoanalysis. Recent years have seen this often tragic affliction defined, by common psychiatric consent, as a biomedical illness, genetically determined, to be treated empirically with one or another pharmacological agent or agents (“mood stabilizers”) on a trial-and-error basis, with psychological interventions limited to educative and supportive measures directed at both the patient and the family. Little attention is given to the possible meanings of the patient's grandiose ideas or flamboyant behavior; control is the sole objective of the treatment procedures.

In the early, halcyon days of psychoanalysis, however, its practitioners were far less modest in their efforts, and, despite Freud's admonition that psychoanalysis was ill suited to the treatment of the psychoses, a number of eminent figures in the field tried their hand at both explaining the disorder and caring for patients who suffered from it. Such pioneers as Karl Abraham (1924), Maurits Katan (1940), Bertram Lewin (1950), Edith Jacobson (1953), and, especially, Melanie Klein (1935, 1940) offered views of mania, elation, and “cyclothymia” from a psychoanalytic perspective. Klein (1935) proposed the concept of the “manic defense” as a universal means of dealing with the pain attending the “depressive position.” A number of her colleagues and followers (see, e.

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