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Kernberg, O.F. (1998). The Contemporary Kleinians of London. Edited by Roy Schafer. Madison, CT: International Universities Press. 1997. Pp. 441. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 79:401-405.

(1998). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 79:401-405

The Contemporary Kleinians of London. Edited by Roy Schafer. Madison, CT: International Universities Press. 1997. Pp. 441

Review by:
Otto F. Kernberg

This book is an original contribution to the contemporary understanding of the psychoanalytic situation and to psychoanalytic technique. Roy Schafer, a major representative of the ego-psychological approach and one of the leading theoreticians of the psychoanalytic community, explores the development of the contemporary Kleinian psychoanalytic approach in Great Britain, commenting on a broad representative group of contributions by leading Kleinian authors. In an engaging, sympathetic but objective and critical approach, Schafer guides the psychoanalytic reader unfamiliar with new Kleinian developments in an in-depth exploration of what Kleinian authors are currently contributing to our understanding of the nature of the transference, countertransference, of unconscious phantasy and its enactment in the transference/countertransference situation.

Because of his deep and sophisticated knowledge of the body of Kleinian literature as well as the long-standing biases regarding the Kleinian school, Schafer spells out these biases and convincingly dismantles them in the light of the work presented through the contributions in this book. His initial chapter provides an overview of the Kleinian approach that includes both the recent modification of traditional technique, and a summary of his own critical position regarding the contemporary Kleinians. This chapter constitutes a major theoretical and technical contribution in its own right.

Edna O'Shaughnessy's chapter ‘What is a clinical fact?’ clarifies and illustrates clinically Bion's concept of the ‘selected fact’, an important theoretical foundation for the objectivist approach to transference interpretation that characterises the Kleinian school.

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