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Roth, N. (1994). Forces of Destiny: Psychoanalysis and Human Idiom: Christopher Bollas, Jason Aronson Inc., Northvale NJ and London, 1991, xi + 223 pp., $40.. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 22(4):765.

(1994). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 22(4):765

Book Reviews

Forces of Destiny: Psychoanalysis and Human Idiom: Christopher Bollas, Jason Aronson Inc., Northvale NJ and London, 1991, xi + 223 pp., $40.

Review by:
Nathan Roth, M.D.

Christopher Bollas is one of a distinguished group of writers on psychoanalytic topics who have also been teachers of English. In addition to Bollas one thinks of Ella Freeman Sharpe and Patrick J. Mahoney. But Bollas has had the additional advantage of working in a psychiatric sanitarium. Whatever the forces operative in Bollas's mind, he is a remarkably original man. He has written two books of which this is the second, the first being “The Shadow of the Object.”

In this work he sketches his comprehensive overview of the work of psychoanalysis. Briefly stated, he feels the essence of good living and of useful psychoanalytic work is to facilitate the emergence and development of the true self in the sense in which Winnicott employed the term. The true self has an idiom, its own set of inclinations, drives and interests, the finding and fulfillment of which is accomplished through certain types of encouraging and assisting objects. The sought after objects are not only people but also interests and activities. The function of the analyst is to allow himself to be used by the analysand so that he can express and disseminate his idiom. These views are not so very different from the efforts of other analysts to explicate their healing interventions, but they are expressed expertly and interestingly.

Bollas is capable of presenting case histories in a very innovative manner. He sees points that others have not discussed. His theoretical schema appears to be applicable to any clinical problem.

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