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Alexander, F. (1936). Practical Aspects of Psychoanalysis: A Handbook for Prospective Patients and Their Advisors. By Lawrence S. Kubie. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1936. 223 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 5:283-289.

(1936). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 5:283-289

Practical Aspects of Psychoanalysis: A Handbook for Prospective Patients and Their Advisors. By Lawrence S. Kubie. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1936. 223 pp.

Review by:
Franz Alexander

A book which has been very much needed indeed—not just one more addition to the long list of good popular presentations of psychoanalysis. It is a quite novel attempt, entirely practical in aim, to eliminate misconceptions about the nature of psychoanalytic treatment that are still current among both the laity and physicians. The book attempts to fulfil this purpose only; and accordingly it does not present the whole content of psychoanalytic theory and therapy, but discusses in a clear and condensed fashion only those fundamental concepts which relate to its practical aim. The aim consistently followed throughout the book is to answer questions which a great majority of people have in their minds when they consider the possibility either of being psychoanalyzed themselves or of their relatives and acquaintances being psychoanalyzed.

At the outset Dr. Kubie emphasizes that psychoanalysis, in contrast to other medical procedures, has novel features which are in the main responsible for the undesirable atmosphere of mystery with which people frequently connect it. To the layman, certain technical and formal peculiarities of the psychoanalytic procedure make psychoanalysis appear to resemble some mystical, ritualistic cult. This is due to the fact that their meaning and significance are not understood. If one did not understand the principles of asepsis, even a surgical operation, with the peculiar attire of the surgeon and the adherence to certain strict and rigid rules, might similarly impress the layman as a peculiar tribal ceremony performed for some mystical purpose.

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