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Riley, D. (1996). Introduction to Psychoanalysis. Contemporary Theory and Practice. By Anthony Bateman and Jeremy Holmes. London and New York: Routledge. 1995. Pp. 289.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:638-639.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:638-639

Introduction to Psychoanalysis. Contemporary Theory and Practice. By Anthony Bateman and Jeremy Holmes. London and New York: Routledge. 1995. Pp. 289.

Review by:
David Riley

This densely factual yet easily readable book is both timely and ambitious. Timely in that a scholarly effort to collate the ‘expanding universe’ of contemporary knowledge is overdue, and ambitious because of the necessarily wide scope of such a project. Although it is described as an introduction, its relevance to the more experienced should not be underestimated. For example, it could function as a ‘corrective cognitive experience’ for anyone wishing to refresh their awareness of theories in the current climate of plurality, as well as being readily accessible to a wide readership.

A contrast between ‘classical’ and ‘modern’ viewpoints is drawn throughout the book, which creates a unifying thread. Though this is necessarily schematic, on the whole the distinction is illustrated convincingly. An exception here is the chapter on research. For, having drawn our attention earlier in the book to the distinction between positivism and hermeneutics, here the authors define as ‘scientific’ that which is objective. This seems to beg the prior question; namely, what would be the appropriate method for demonstrating the veridicality of psychoanalytic data?

Despite this methodological caveat, the chapter ‘Research’ is essential because it makes such sanguine reading. For example, the finding that there is little demonstrable link between ‘rating of a psychoanalytic process’ and eventual treatment outcome.

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