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Lemmon, B. (2012). Initiating Psychoanalysis: Perspectives Edited by Bernard Reith, Sven Lagerlof, Penelope Crick, Mette Moller, Elisabeth Skale New York: Routledge, 2012, 359 pp.. Fort Da, 18(2):80-84.
(2012). Fort Da, 18(2):80-84
Initiating Psychoanalysis: Perspectives Edited by Bernard Reith, Sven Lagerlof, Penelope Crick, Mette Moller, Elisabeth Skale New York: Routledge, 2012, 359 pp.
Review by: Bronwen Lemmon, MFT
Psychoanalysis distinguishes itself from all other therapies through its finding that unconscious psychic life matters and is the center of every hour of every treatment, most pivotally during the initial consultation. Initiating Psychoanalysis: Perspectives begins with Freud's timeless report, “Katharina” (1893), setting the stage by contextualizing the illumination of unconscious dynamics in this single groundbreaking consultation. He saw in her case the paradoxical nature of the unconscious and how it foils direct observation with its visible-invisible dynamic via splitting of consciousness. He went on to find circuitous paths to the unconscious through his signature technique of observing derivatives, understanding their resistances, and interpreting dreams. His process of helping patients release their potently active unconscious ideas into awareness gave those problematic ideas a much better chance of being faced squarely. However, even 120 years later, the task of revealing the unconscious is not easy. Unlike Columbus discovering the New World, the analyst's job with the unconscious is more akin to discovering the sun: it's glary and repellent, yet we pursue it for its warmth. Fortunately for us, this rare gem of a book, with its unassuming demeanor, appears like a simple collection of papers but is loaded, as only a straightshooting clinical guide to the unconscious could be.
Before explaining more about what I mean, I will first tell you something about how and why this book came to be. Although I gravitated to this title because it held a promise of answers to all those questions candidates in the midst of initiating control cases might need, I learned that it was created with the entire, multi-leveled, international psychoanalytic community in mind. In 2000, before the book was conceived, David Tuckett, then president of the European Psychoanalytic Federation (EPF), launched a Ten-Year Scientific Initiative to address the worldwide crisis in psychoanalysis.
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