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Baker, R. (1984). Psychoanalysis of Developmental Arrests: Theory and Treatment: By Robert D. Stolorow & Frank M. Lachmann. New York: International Universities Press. 1980. Pp. 211.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 11:245-246.
    

(1984). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 11:245-246

Psychoanalysis of Developmental Arrests: Theory and Treatment: By Robert D. Stolorow & Frank M. Lachmann. New York: International Universities Press. 1980. Pp. 211.

Review by:
Ronald Baker

This book includes previously published papers which have been drawn together to create an impressive volume on an important and difficult topic.

In the first section, 'Narcissism and Self Representation', the authors' point of departure is their replacement of the drive concept of narcissism by a functional definition. The classical economic concept of narcissism is seen as both confusing and redundant and it is proposed that 'mental activity is narcissistic to the degree that its function is to maintain the cohesion, stability and positive affective colouring of the self-representation'. This thesis is supported by a cogent argument which throws much needed light on the problems of narcissistic perversion, narcissistic object relationships, narcissism as a developmental line, the relationship of narcissism to self esteem, narcissism as a diagnostic term, the vexed issue of healthy versus pathological narcissism and the countertransference problems encountered in narcissistic patients. Following on this, it is clearly shown how masochism and sadism may be used in the service of the narcissistic function of restoring and sustaining the cohesion and intactness of the vulnerable or damaged self-representation.

The next section, 'Developmental Pre-Stages of Defences', focuses on the distinction between a defence, the function of which is to ward off the components and effects of intrapsychic conflicts, and what is referred to as a pre-stage of defensive development. The latter is shown to be intimately linked to developmental arrest.

[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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