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Scheftel, S. (2015). Varieties of Psychoanalytic Experience: Psychoanalytic Therapy with Infants and Parents: Practice, Theory and Results. By Björn Salomonsson. New York: Routledge, 2014, viii + 218 pp., $180.00 hardcover, $46.95 paperback.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 63(6):1269-1276.
    

(2015). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 63(6):1269-1276

Varieties of Psychoanalytic Experience: Psychoanalytic Therapy with Infants and Parents: Practice, Theory and Results. By Björn Salomonsson. New York: Routledge, 2014, viii + 218 pp., $180.00 hardcover, $46.95 paperback.

Review by:
Susan Scheftel

Björn Salomonsson's Psychoanalytic Therapy with Infants and Parents is a unique contribution to the modern literature on parent-infant psychotherapy, with a purview that is wide and ambitious in its range and scholarship. Salomonsson has set out to excavate the archaeology of early infant representations, the more negative of which can transform into lifelong inchoate affective fault lines if subject to “primal repression;” this repression, different from that we associate with unconscious conflict, is a Freudian concept he revives, elaborates upon, and suggests will inevitably occur absent the kind of early psychoanalytic intervention he delineates. The book, dense and scholarly, is replete with unusual examples of the author's targeted psychoanalytic approach to parent-infant psychotherapy, which he argues is not simply a technique but also a means of understanding the formation of an infant's mind; the approach itself is an investigative tool. All of this places the book in a category of its own. The work is an unusual hybrid: both casebook and scholarly review, blazing a trail into a novel therapeutic and hermeneutic frontier. Throughout this deceptively slim but theoretically dense volume, Salomonsson not only shares excerpts from his clinical cases, but simultaneously shuttles between the realms of classical and contemporary psychoanalytic theory, as well as infancy research and semiotics. He is hard at work, striving to create a unified theory of the earliest infant representations, which he suggests are best unearthed and understood as they arise in statu nascendi within a clinical practice of psychoanalytic parent-infant psychotherapy.

Though he has written many articles on infancy going back to 1989, this is Salomonsson's first published book.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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