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Dimon, J. (1996). Mind and Its Treatment: A Psychoanalytic Approach. : By Veikko Tähkä. Madison, Connecticut: International Universities Press, Inc. 1993. Pp. 490.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:423-424.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:423-424

Mind and Its Treatment: A Psychoanalytic Approach. : By Veikko Tähkä. Madison, Connecticut: International Universities Press, Inc. 1993. Pp. 490.

Review by:
Jim Dimon

Mind and Its Treatment is a large and ambitious undertaking by the leading figure in Finnish psychoanalysis. First, Tähkä presents his psychoanalytic theory of development coupled with his viewpoint about the way in which adult psychopathology is structured. Next, he presents his theory of psychoanalytic treatment, differentiated by the functional level of the difficulty (psychotic, borderline or neurotic). Tähkä's voice resonates most clearly with American ego-psychologists of the post-World War II generation and with the selfpsychology of Heinz Kohut. He is, however, a highly independent thinker, with, at times, refreshingly distinctive points of view.

Tähkä orients the reader in his introduction:

Psychopathology is seen essentially as resulting from arrest of structure-building interaction with phase-specific objects at varying stages of mental development. Correspondingly, analytic treatment is viewed as an attempt at activating and assisting a resumed structural development in the patient, with the analyst as a new developmental object.

Tähkä's developmental schema begins with a symbiotic infant, who is structurally in the position of the psychotic adult. Tähkä then describes the progression from self and object differentiation to self and object constancy. This stage correlates with the pathological position of the adult borderline patient. For Tähkä, this path to self and object constancy is characterised by incorporative and identificatory processes, particularly the ‘functionally selective identifications’, which support the pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of frustration.

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