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Tip: To review an author’s works published in PEP-Web…

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The Author Section is a useful way to review an author’s works published in PEP-Web. It is ordered alphabetically by the Author’s surname. After clicking the matching letter, search for the author’s full name.

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Rogow, A.A. (1984). Life Histories and Psychobiography. Explorations in Theory and Method: By William McKinley Runyan. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982. 288 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 53:619-621.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53:619-621

Life Histories and Psychobiography. Explorations in Theory and Method: By William McKinley Runyan. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982. 288 pp.

Review by:
Arnold A. Rogow

Psychoanalysts, of course, do not need to be lectured about the importance of life histories, although many of them remain dubious about the possibilities of psychobiography. The life history is not merely an element in a psychoanalysis; the patient's recounting of his history and attendant dreams and free associations is the single most important event in his analysis. The best analysts are skilled interpreters of this event, but, somewhat paradoxically, they are less impressive when they recount a life history in their own version of a psychobiography, namely, a case report. Whether in the form of a written paper or of an oral presentation, the case study is likely to be factually sparse or limited since it necessarily requires the condensation of many hours of work by both analyst and patient into relatively few paragraphs. Frequently, the reporting analyst will confine himself to only those facts and patient memories, dreams, and associations that support his interpretations; ordinarily, we do not receive information that might point in a different direction. But even lengthy case reports are not free from confusions of evidence and inference, observations and speculations, inductions and deductions.

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