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Yanchyshyn, G. (2020). The Clinical Paradigms of Melanie Klein and Donald Winnicott: Comparisons and Dialogues by Jan Abram and R. D. Hinshelwood New York: Routledge, 2018, 230 pp.. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 28(1):123-127.

(2020). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 28(1):123-127

Books / LECTURES

The Clinical Paradigms of Melanie Klein and Donald Winnicott: Comparisons and Dialogues by Jan Abram and R. D. Hinshelwood New York: Routledge, 2018, 230 pp.

Review by:
Gordon Yanchyshyn

On the cover we see photos of an old woman and an old man with gentle, pensive expressions on their faces, with the co-authors named immediately below. But it's actually Melanie Klein and Donald Winnicott, creating an amusing, momentary confusion. However, the title phrase “clinical paradigms” is a more substantial misrepresentation. In fact, more than three-quarters of the text is a comparison and contrast of Klein's and Winnicott's theoretical paradigms. This confusion, as it turns out, becomes the most important reason to read this book: “We wanted to show how, coming from our different areas of expertise, we had thought we knew what the other meant and then discovered that we had often misperceived and/or misunderstood something” (p. xix).

Abram and Hinshelwood have created a lively, engaging, and novel experience rather than a tired rehash of old concepts. They have decided to include their lengthy email dialogues that followed each independently prepared chapter on key aspects of Klein's and Winnicott's work. What they realize through the course of their point/counterpoint exchanges is that scholarly psychoanalytic discourse so often becomes an emotional confusion of tongues. On the other hand, because of mutual regard and analytic wisdom, Abram and Hinshelwood reflect on what is happening between them and we readers profit from their efforts.

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