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Grotjahn, M. (1950). Adaptation: Edited by John Romano, M.D. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1949. 113 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 19:427.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:427

Adaptation: Edited by John Romano, M.D. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1949. 113 pp.

Review by:
Martin Grotjahn

In the introduction to this beautifully printed book, John Romano states: 'Psychiatry, like social anthropology, is currently engaged in attempting to bridge the gap between the physical and biological sciences on the one end, and the social sciences on the other'. Adaptation to life on various levels has been chosen as the theme, because this central concept is a girder in the bridge between these fields of science.

Paul Weiss, the zoologist, Homer W. Smith, the physiologist, Howard S. Liddell, the psychobiologist, and Clyde Kluckhohn, the anthropologist, present four interpretations of the phenomenon of adaptation in four different chapters. Of special interest for the analytically-minded reader is a contribution by Lawrence S. Kubie, who diagnosed himself as a 'doubting Thomas' and as such, carefully and cautiously picks his way through the thorny bushes of analytic theory. Under the title of The Neurotic Potential and Human Adaptation, Kubie concludes that when most of the determining psychological forces are conscious, the resulting conduct will merit being called normal, because it will be free to learn and capable of adapting flexibly to changing external realities. Where unconscious forces dominate, or where conscious and unconscious forces pursue incompatible goals, the behavior which results will deserve to be called 'neurotic'. Such behavior will be a rigid, repetitive, unadaptive, ineffectual compromise. It will not serve the needs of the conscious nor the unconscious human potentials.

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