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Layland, W.R. (1997). Breakdown and Breakthrough. : By Nathan Field. London: Routledge. 1996. Pp. 157.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 78:831-832.

(1997). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 78:831-832

Breakdown and Breakthrough. : By Nathan Field. London: Routledge. 1996. Pp. 157.

Review by:
W. Ralph Layland

As I was reading this book for the first time, in order to write a review, I realised that my approach to it was very similar to the one I use when conducting a consultation. As the story unfolded, I was trying to fit it into a known diagnostic category. For the first four chapters I thought that I was doing fine. What the author was saying seemed to be familiar ground to me. Basically, his message was that there had to be breakdown in order to achieve breakthrough. Put another way, disintegration precedes integration, and for there to be further integration there has to be a period of disintegration. I liked my patient/author, because I was able to start to formulate a diagnosis. Then, at the end of Chapter Four, he introduced some new symptoms/ideas, and started to make me consider a differential diagnosis, to make me think, and to make me feel out of my depth. I was asked to consider quantum theory, holography, the work of Bohm, the neurosciences and pure consciousness. I was not feeling quite so positive towards him. By the time that I had reached the last chapter, I was still unable to make a diagnosis, when the author came to my help. I quote:

It was my original intention to organise the various themes of this book into a logical picture, one leading naturally to the next. But in practice this has proved more difficult than I anticipated. It was as if the material itself resisted this kind of sequential ordering and each section tended to become an exploration of similar themes from a succession of different perspectives (p. 137).

If I were to find a fault with this book, it is that at the end of it, the reader is left the task of trying to tie all the loose ends together.

It is important before reading this book to know that the author, Nathan Field, belongs to the school of Jungian-trained psychotherapists who have introduced into their theoretical thinking the work of Melanie Klein and her followers and the work of the Group of Independent Psychoanalysts, particularly those, such as Winnicott and Balint, who were interested in early infant development.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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