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Frumkes, G. (1954). The Troubled Mind. A Psychiatric Study of Success and Failure in Human Adaptation: By Beulah Chamberlain Bosselman, M.D. New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1953. 206 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 23:451-452.

(1954). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23:451-452

The Troubled Mind. A Psychiatric Study of Success and Failure in Human Adaptation: By Beulah Chamberlain Bosselman, M.D. New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1953. 206 pp.

Review by:
George Frumkes

Dr. Bosselman is a psychoanalyst and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Illinois Medical School. Her book is written for parents, teachers, physicians, and students. Psychoanalytic concepts have influenced her, but technical terms are avoided and there are relatively few references to Freud or psychoanalysis. A pragmatic common-sense approach is used. The style is plausible and lucid. The chapters are headed by quotations from classical authors, many poetical, such as Housman, Shakespeare, James, and Marcus Aurelius.

Part I gives an account of the process of development from infancy to old age, with particular attention to the specific problems that must be solved at each age level. In the chapter, Infancy: The Attainment of Self-Realization, the author notes that feeding problems arise when the child experiences coercion, in the interests of correct nutrition, and makes use of this issue as an opportunity for resisting authority. Toilet training becomes the focus of much rebellious feeling against demands of conformity of attitude and routine. 'By the end of the second or third year the child should have established a workable and realistic balance between self-assertion and conformity.' Writing of Later Childhood: Adaptation Within the Peer Group, Dr. Bosselman says that to adults rebellion may be worth the sacrifice it involves, but children should not be expected to suffer for causes which they cannot comprehend. In the adult 'the personality traits which we call immature are those which are concerned with taking rather than giving. The emphasis is still on achieving a "build-up" of self rather than on a more objective activity in the large world.' In old age, good health and true love can help one bear a great deal of disappointment; the actualities of success or failure are relatively less important. An index of poor adaptation is excessive demand for reassurance of acceptance by others.

Part II deals with neurosis and psychosis, designated as faulty adaptations. Neurosis is unrealistic and inefficient; psychosis attempts adaptation by distortion and denial. In neurosis, the person blindly tries to resolve internal and external conflicts in a repetitive compulsive way, unable or afraid to face real issues.

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