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Herzog, J.M. (1984). The Course of Life. Psychoanalytic Contributions Toward Understanding Personality Development. Vol. II: Latency, Adolescence and Youth: Edited by Stanley I. Greenspan and George H. Pollock. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Mental Health, 1980. 550 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 53:300-305.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53:300-305

The Course of Life. Psychoanalytic Contributions Toward Understanding Personality Development. Vol. II: Latency, Adolescence and Youth: Edited by Stanley I. Greenspan and George H. Pollock. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Mental Health, 1980. 550 pp.

Review by:
James M. Herzog

This volume illustrates at once all of the problems and all of the promise of psychoanalytic endeavors aimed at the elaboration of a developmental psychology. We are treated to a wide-ranging compendium of contributions spanning the extensive terrain of psychoanalytic scholarship. Most of them (with the notable exception of the article by Daniel Offer) extract their data and conclusions from the psychoanalyst's traditional area of expertise, work with analytic patients.

This population permits the longitudinal study of mental mechanisms, forces, conflicts, and conflict resolution in the context of an ongoing relationship and under the pressure of the internal and external circumstances that brought the analysand into the analytic situation. The importance of this last variable is underscored dramatically by the Offer article, "Adolescent Development: A Normative Perspective." Offer reports on an eight-year longitudinal study of adolescent boys. He describes three different patterns of development. Pivotal is the fact that only one of these pathways was typified by developmental problems requiring psychotherapeutic intervention. Many conclusions about so-called normal adolescence that had been reached through the clinical investigation of the "tumultuous growth" group, which constituted only 21% of Offer's population, need to be rethought, at least insofar as their nomothetic import is concerned.

Most developmental data are confined to what can be called the videotaped level of reality, i.e., what the camera would see of an interaction, of a developing skill, of the circumstances eliciting a reaction.

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