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Altman, L.L. (1949). Psychotherapy. Practice and Theory: By Charles Berg, M.D. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1948. 503 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 18:233-235.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:233-235

Psychotherapy. Practice and Theory: By Charles Berg, M.D. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1948. 503 pp.

Review by:
Leon L. Altman

Written largely for the information and guidance of the beginner, this book will also be of interest to the experienced psychotherapist. Physical and nonanalytic methods of treatment and theory are reviewed but the primary emphasis is on psychoanalytic therapy. The author is fluent, articulate, sometimes discursive but never dull. His book makes good reading.

Anxiety, hysteria, neuroses and psychoses are all related through the libido theory. Accumulated, undischarged sexual tension is emphasized as the causative factor in psychogenic illness. Such oversimplification and the omission of most of ego psychology may be justified in a book which deserves great credit for avoiding technical sophistry.

The body of the book consists of verbatim case presentations illustrating the clinical reactions and treatment situations of the major neuroses and psychoses. The dramatic narrative style employed is an important contribution. Patient-therapist sessions are recorded in a lifelike manner conveying the essential atmosphere of psychotherapy, completely unlike the ordinary textbook of psychotherapy or psychopathology. While the effect is illuminating, the method may be misleading to beginners, since such eloquence, facility and quick comprehension, particularly on the part of the patient, do not occur very often in practice.

The section on treatment which follows contains a brief historical review of medical psychology including concise summaries of the theories of Jung, Adler, Meyer, Reich and others.

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