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Wilkinson, A. (1983). Bauer, Jan. Alcoholism and Women: the Background and the Psychology. Toronto. Inner City Books 1982. Pp. 140. Paperback $12.. J. Anal. Psychol., 28(3):283-284.

(1983). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 28(3):283-284

Bauer, Jan. Alcoholism and Women: the Background and the Psychology. Toronto. Inner City Books 1982. Pp. 140. Paperback $12.

Review by:
Agnes Wilkinson

Edited by:
Andrew Samuels

This, the eleventh contribution to a series now firmly associated with its patron, Marie-Louise von Franz, is in the established tradition. The author relies heavily on Greek mythology for images with which to represent her patients' experience. At the same time she discloses a down-to-earth, pragmatic approach to their problems. For example, nothing is more attractive in this book than the author's concern with the development, ethos and effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous. Bauer presents not only the theory behind the alcoholic's despair but also the conceptual credentials for the ‘do it yourself’ nature of A.A., which cannot but appeal to many analysts having little previous knowledge of the Association.

Jung's contribution to the evolution of this organisation is given prominence in a special chapter in the body of the book as well as in an appendix which reproduces a letter from Bill W., a co-founder of A.A., to Jung with Jung's reply. In this letter, characteristically, Jung concentrates on the equivalence, ‘on a low level’, of the craving for alcohol with the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness.

Differentiating between alcoholism in women as compared with alcoholism in men, Bauer's careful case histories certainly indicate difference in symptomatology and in marriage patterns. But by focusing on this affliction only in women she succeeds mainly in underlining the essential desolation and over-dependence of its victims, both male and female who, as Plaut has put it, attempt self-cure by diving into the depth of their being out of which they cannot emerge unaided.

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