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Robbins, M. (1991). Master Clinicians on Treating the Regressed Patient: By L. Bryce Boyer and Peter Giovacchini. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson. 1990. Pp. 408.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 72:180-182.

(1991). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 72:180-182

Master Clinicians on Treating the Regressed Patient: By L. Bryce Boyer and Peter Giovacchini. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson. 1990. Pp. 408.

Review by:
Michael Robbins

This is a collection of 16 papers by 14 authors, including Thomas Ogden, John Steiner, Frances Tustin, James Grotstein, David Rosenfeld, Joyce McDougall, Harold Searles, Renata Gaddini, Vamik Volkan, Peter Goldberg, Heitor DePaola and Christopher Bollas. The editors each contribute two articles. More than half the contributors are consultants to Boyer's treatment centre, and the bibliographies at the conclusion of each of the chapters contain an abundance of mutual citations, as well as frequent references to others such as Bick, Meltzer, Winnicott, Anzieu and Bion. The papers are thematically heterogeneous, and I suspect that the rationale for the volume is the shared affinity of the authors for each other's work and for the work of Melanie Klein and others of the British object-relations group, including Fairbairn, who is rarely mentioned, with his emphasis on the self, as well as a common interest in the treatment of more disturbed patients, rather than a wish to explore particular clinical or theoretical issues.

The editors, Boyer & Giovacchini, both believe that, in treating these patients who are fixated at what Boyer calls a prementational level of development, it is the analyst's ability to master his regressive countertransference response to the patient's projections which enables him to create a holding environment in which more mature structures may develop. Boyer presents two interesting case illustrations. Giovacchini describes a process of fusion epigenetically antecedent to achievement of the capacity to use projective-introjective mechanisms which characterizes both pathological and growth-promoting interchanges between patient and analyst.

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