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Black, M. (1995). Gill, Merton: Psychoanalysis in Transition: A Personal View: Hillsdale, N.J.: The Analytic Press, 1994. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 4(4):267-271.

(1995). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 4(4):267-271

Gill, Merton: Psychoanalysis in Transition: A Personal View: Hillsdale, N.J.: The Analytic Press, 1994

Review by:
Margaret Black, C.S.W.

It is fitting that this issue of the International Forum devoted to psychoanalysis in North America include a review of the final book of Merton Gill, whose recent death brought to an end a passionate involvement with psychoanalytic ideas that spanned more than half a century. Published in the eightieth year of his life, Psychoanalysis in Transition—A Personal View, offers glimpses of Gill in his many roles: scholar, historian, researcher, balanced arbitrator, enthusiastic gladiator, and champion of common sense. The book, in Gill's words, “is about what interests me the most—a basic perspective on the nature of psychological therapy informed by psychoanalytic concepts” (1: xii).

Not surprisingly (Gill never having been one to shy away from controversy), he organized the book around pivotal areas of debate within contemporary psychoanalysis (constructivism and hermeneutics; one-person and two-person psychology; psychoanalysis and psychotherapy). Gill's more recent thinking, strongly evident in this book, emphasizes the centrality of the analysis of the “here-and-now” interaction between patient and analyst, utilizing perspectivism and social constructivism rather than classical concepts deriving from conflicts concerning drive discharge and defense.

Gill's involvement with psychoanalysis began in the 1940's, when, along with Robert Knight, Margaret Brenman, Robert Holt and Roy Schafer, he was deeply immersed in the development of American ego psychology (2).

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