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Orange, D.M. (2017). Review of Ghosts in the Consulting Room: Echoes of Trauma in Psychoanlysis and Demons in the Consulting Room: Echoes of Genocide, Slavery and Extreme Trauma in Psychoanalytic Practice. Psychoanal. Self. Cxt., 12(1):91-96.

(2017). Psychoanalysis, Self, and Context, 12(1):91-96

Book Review

Review of Ghosts in the Consulting Room: Echoes of Trauma in Psychoanlysis and Demons in the Consulting Room: Echoes of Genocide, Slavery and Extreme Trauma in Psychoanalytic Practice

Donna M. Orange, Ph.D., Psy.D.

In one of my favorite, perhaps also most quoted, passages in the whole psychoanalytic literature, Hans Loewald (1960) optimistically characterized psychoanalysis as a process turning ghosts into ancestors through transference and mourning:

The transference neurosis … is due to the blood of recognition which the patient’s unconscious is given to taste—so that the old ghosts may reawaken to life. Those who know ghosts tell us that they long to be released from their ghost-life and led to rest as ancestors. As ancestors they live forth in the present generation, while as ghosts they are compelled to haunt the present generation with their shadow-life. Transference is pathological in so far as the unconscious is a crowd of ghosts, and this is the beginning of the transference neurosis in analysis: ghosts of the unconscious, imprisoned by defenses but haunting the patient in the dark of his defenses and symptoms, are allowed to taste blood, are let loose. In the daylight of analysis the ghosts of the unconscious are laid and led to rest as ancestors whose power is taken over and transformed into the newer intensity of present life, of the secondary process and contemporary objects. (p.

[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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