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Skolnikoff, A.Z. (1987). Transference and its Context. Selected Papers on Psychoanalysis: By Leo Stone, M.D. New York/London: Jason Aronson, 1984. 451 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 56:354-356.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:354-356

Transference and its Context. Selected Papers on Psychoanalysis: By Leo Stone, M.D. New York/London: Jason Aronson, 1984. 451 pp.

Review by:
Alan Z. Skolnikoff

This volume is a collection of papers written by the author over a span of more than thirty years. They focus predominantly on the psychoanalytic situation, with particular emphasis on transference and resïstance.

Stone's thinking outlines a major trend in psychoanalysis during this period. Through a description of his technique and philosophical understanding, he brings to our attention the relativity of the rules governing classical technique. With his close look at the psychoanalytic situation, he reminds us of the myriad of elements that constitute the therapeutic interaction.

Reading this volume of essays is not easy. The author develops his hypotheses in a discursive, detailed manner. The reader is frequently left confused and perplexed, as Stone digresses or speculates about what appear to be peripheral matters. However, a slow and patient reading of these papers is more than rewarding. One finally recognizes that his discursions correspond with a complex, multifaceted, nondogmatic thinking about psychoanalysis.

The book is divided into two parts, with a total of sixteen chapters. All the papers are based on previous articles, with a considerable reworking and integration of linking ideas. I will focus my discussion on Part I, which concerns the psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic situations, and the last three chapters, which cover questions of training and problems in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. The other chapters (9 through 13) are of interest from a more academic, philosophical perspective, especially those which deal with theories of aggression.

What is particularly appealing about Stone's thinking is his ability to shift back and forth between theory and practice. He finally compares what actual clinical practice is with the way it is conceptualized theoretically. Although he mentions his subjective biases in a variety of directions, he often argues against his own ideas, attempting to maintain the role of a neutral investigator.

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