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Rocah, B.S. (1989). The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, Volume 41: Edited by A. Solnit and P. Neubauer. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1986. Pp. 667.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 70:177-180.

(1989). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 70:177-180

The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, Volume 41: Edited by A. Solnit and P. Neubauer. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1986. Pp. 667.

Review by:
Barbara S. Rocah

Between the covers of the 41st volume of The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, which is dedicated to Dr Ruth Eissler, we are once again treated to a range of papers dealing with theory, trauma, development, clinical contributions, and applied psychoanalysis. Each paper maintains a standard of excellence established in earlier volumes of this series. The papers not only reflect the state of the art of psychoanalytic theory and practice with children and adults, but in some instances they move our field of inquiry forward. Although the developmental point of view provides the focus for most of the papers, the editors have taken pains to include diversity within that general orientation.

The lead paper, by Rangell, on the executive functions of the ego, re-explores the concepts of ego autonomy and conflict-free sector of the personality. He investigates the relationship between will (as a conflict-free theory of motivated behaviour) and psychic determinism to propose new unconscious ego functions that reflect choice, initiation of action, decision making, and overall direction of behaviour. Staying at the level of metapsychological reasoning, he opts to reject current theories of the self that reflect dissatisfaction with an ever expanding ego concept by shifting emphasis from the study of ego functions to the study of the whole person as the decision maker and agent of choice. He defends his choice to include these activities within the system ego because the concept has both historical and functional meaning for generations of psychoanalysts.

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