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Eisenstein, V.W. (1950). A Study of Interpersonal Relations: Edited by Patrick Mullahy. New York: Hermitage Press, 1949. 560 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 19:121-122.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:121-122

A Study of Interpersonal Relations: Edited by Patrick Mullahy. New York: Hermitage Press, 1949. 560 pp.

Review by:
Victor W. Eisenstein

The twenty-five papers by seventeen authors, which comprise this volume, reflect the orientation of the William Alanson White Psychiatric Foundation. According to the theory of interpersonal relations, 'The individual is no longer conceived of as an isolated being equipped with fixed instincts and drives, but as a social being whose problems arise from specific social conditions'. Most of the papers in this collection appeared in the journal, Psychiatry, and include contributions by psychoanalysts, sociologists, anthropologists and psychologists, of whom Harry Stack Sullivan, Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, Clara Thompson, Kingsley Davis, Ernest G. Schachtel, Talcott Parsons, Harold Lasswell and Ruth Benedict are representative. The diversity of topics covered is illustrated in these sample chapter headings: On Memory and Childhood Amnesia; Certain Primary Sources in Patterns of Aggression in the Social Structure of the Western World; The Role of Women in This Culture; The Transference Phenomenon in Psychoanalytic Therapy; Cultural Complexity and Psychological Problems; and Therapeutic Investigations in Schizophrenia.

Differences from classical orientations in psychoanalytic psychiatry are presented in several papers. Schachtel's fundamental paper on memory develops the thesis that infantile amnesia is a universal phenomenon, determined culturally rather than by repression of specific sexual content, and outlines the effects of our culture on the basic senses of touch, taste and smell, in shaping significant infantile experiences and emotions.

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