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Wittels, F. (1949). Compulsion and Doubt: By Wilhelm Stekel, M.D. New York: Liveright Publishing Corp., 1949. Two Volumes. 645 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 18:367-368.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:367-368

Compulsion and Doubt: By Wilhelm Stekel, M.D. New York: Liveright Publishing Corp., 1949. Two Volumes. 645 pp.

Review by:
Fritz Wittels

These two volumes contain seventy-eight case histories, some by other authors, most of them, however, from Stekel's own material. The blurb tells us that the author is credited with having psychoanalyzed more than ten thousand individuals. This may be explained in part by Stekel's 'active method', which was in his day much contested. It is now being praised as an innovation in some circles. Stekel believed that those who need analysis of more than nine months 'do not want to be cured'. He has a way of not bothering about the analytic meaning of his statements.

The author ejects copious opinions on compulsion neurosis. Every psychoanalyst can learn something from his enormous experience if he can condone the patent weaknesses in theoretical understanding. Documented by an endless parade of cases, he states that obsessives believe in the omnipotence of though and, therefore, consider themselves immortal; however, they constantly play with ideas of suicide because they know that their hidden goal is unattainable. They are all criminals but lack the courage to follow their impulses.

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