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Tuber, S. (2003). With so many Virtues, Why do they Protest so much? A Review of Relational Child Psychotherapy by Neil Altman, Richard Briggs, Jay Frankel, Daniel Gensler, and Pasqual Pantone. New York: Other Press: 2002. xiv + 410 pp.. Contemp. Psychoanal., 39(4):720-724.

(2003). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 39(4):720-724

With so many Virtues, Why do they Protest so much? A Review of Relational Child Psychotherapy by Neil Altman, Richard Briggs, Jay Frankel, Daniel Gensler, and Pasqual Pantone. New York: Other Press: 2002. xiv + 410 pp.

Review by:
Steven Tuber, Ph.D., ABPP

IN bottom-line terms, Relational Child Psychotherapy is an important, very worthwhile book. As an introductory text for graduate and postdoctoral students interested in a more “current” view of psychodynamic child treatment, it is a worthy addition to, and in some respects an extension beyond, similar recent endeavors by Chethik (1989) and Siskind (1999). At the same time, however, there is a tone throughout the work, but most especially in its last, integrating chapters, that creates an unnecessary “straw man” argument that significantly lessens its appeal. Indeed, the authors' need to extol the virtues of the “relational” approach in contrast to “classical psychoanalysis” renders the former an “all good,” integrative tour de force, while reducing the latter to an anachronistic relic of a pre-World War II zeitgeist. This would have stronger credence if the authors did a much better job of acknowledging how their approach rests on the shoulders of the Freuds (father and daughter) and Klein, instead of largely depicting their limitations.

But let us first return to the virtues of the book, as there are many.

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