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Rose, J.S. (2017). Interpretive Voices: Responding to Patients edited by Debbie Bandler Bellman and Jean Arundale Karnac Books, London, 2015; 256 pp. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 98(2):545-549.

(2017). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 98(2):545-549

Interpretive Voices: Responding to Patients edited by Debbie Bandler Bellman and Jean Arundale Karnac Books, London, 2015; 256 pp

Review by:
James S. Rose

This book seeks to explore the difficulties and distastes encountered in the analysis of patients who are, for one reason or another, hard to reach. From the title, interpretation is placed at the heart of the book's message. The content of the book can be summarized as a series of papers which describe such patients and the trials and tribulations of trying to reach them and thereby help them. The psychopathology of the patients described is largely of a borderline nature who are described as resistant to the psychoanalytic method; concrete in their thinking; psychically fragile and have difficulty in forming and maintaining relationships with others. Such patients and treatment situations will be familiar to practising psychoanalysts. They will thus be familiar with what the authors of these papers are discussing because of their own experience and will, no doubt, be grateful for their thoughts. As a result, they will come to the book with their own questions about how interpretations can be made which achieve the objective of reaching the patient. It is a book for practitioners because the authors know that the reader needs to know about psychoanalysis to understand them.

From the structure of the book and the sequence of the papers' content, there is a sense of the development of the book's fundamental message. This reader felt that this message could have been more explicitly spelt out and further that the papers could have been brought together in sections with each section introduced so that the message of the book could be seen to be progressively spelt out. In the book, this message is communicated through the questions each paper seeks to address. Broadly speaking, these questions might seem to be basic, but they are fundamental to thinking about the problems that this book discusses.


[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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