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Benedek, T. (1962). The Psychoanalytic Situation. An Examination of its Development and Essential Nature: By Leo Stone, M.D. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1961. 158 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 31:549-551.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 31:549-551

The Psychoanalytic Situation. An Examination of its Development and Essential Nature: By Leo Stone, M.D. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1961. 158 pp.

Review by:
Therese Benedek

This small volume represents a significant contribution to the theory and technique of psychoanalysis. It is an expanded version of a lecture given by the author at the New York Academy of Medicine, May 6, 1961, as the Freud Lecture of the year. Since the psychoanalytic situation cannot be dissociated from the interrelated dynamisms and problems of the psychoanalytic process or from the psychology to which it has given rise, the author considers it under the following subheadings: 1, the relationship of physician and patient; 2, the classical conception of the psychoanalytic situation; 3, additional comments on the transference and countertransference complex; 4, the primary unconscious meaning of the psychoanalytic situation; and 5, the biologic and primitive psychological aspects of the psychoanalytic situation with emphasis on the role of speech.

Stone's many scholarly annotations, printed as an appendix, are a significant part of the book and make rewarding, though not easy, reading. One gets the impression of viewing the psychoanalytic process and its theory through a complex prism, the main dynamic lines being broken up in several directions that meet again and again in new integrations. The author arrives at a view of the psychoanalytic situation that is new although it is based on concepts which have been very much in the foreground of psychoanalytic literature during the past fifteen years.

The profound psychological significance of the psychoanalytic situation was developed by Freud from the traditional relationship of physician and patient. However remote the discipline of psychoanalysis may seem from its origins, its justifications as well as its structure remain rooted in this original relationship, which contains the primary transference potential. Since, traditionally, the physician is associated with the care of the body, he represents for the unconscious of the patient the mother of his infancy. The classic psychoanalytic situation with its accepted restrictions and rules creates a 'state of relative physical and emotional deprivation', which Stone characterizes as 'deprivation in intimacy'.

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