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Caston, J. (1987). Psychoanalytic Theory and Clinical Relevance: What Makes a Theory Consequential for Practice: By Louis S. Berger. Hillsdale N.J.: Analytic Press. 1985. Pp. 213.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 68:129-131.

(1987). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 68:129-131

Psychoanalytic Theory and Clinical Relevance: What Makes a Theory Consequential for Practice: By Louis S. Berger. Hillsdale N.J.: Analytic Press. 1985. Pp. 213.

Review by:
Joseph Caston

Psychoanalysis attracts and ceaselessly couples with the humanities and other sciences, germinating new perspectives in the practice and theory of human activity. The wide spectrum of commentaries so spawned covers various world views and corners of science, social systems, history, criticism, aspects of creativity, or psychoanalysis itself. In particular, the last decade has generated an increasing wave of commentary about philosophic, hermeneutic, or scientific adequacy of psychoanalysis. While Berger's book rides close to or within this current, he does not seek to weigh, as do many in this genre, the validity of psychoanalysis as a therapeutic endeavour or as an empirical science. Neither has he written, as the title might suggest, an—even obliquely—clinical or practical work. Rather, he presents a general critique about theories of human activity, then applies it to psychoanalysis, promising that the ensuing revision will correct and meaningfully integrate the otherwise disjoint relation between psychoanalytic theory and practice.

His target is not so much specific content in psychoanalytic theory, but what he idiosyncratically refers to as psychoanalytic 'theorizing'—a concept which appears to emphasize general theory- making in psychoanalysis, and its consquences. He admittedly uses the term to indicate 'theorizing', not only in classical psychoanalysis itself, but in its variants as well (such as have been authored by Klein, Kohut, Kernberg, Schafer, etc.

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