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Gottlieb, K.I. (1987). What Do you Get when you Cross a Dandelion with a Rose? the True Story of a Psychoanalysis: By Vamik D. Volkan, M.D. New York: Jason Aronson, 1984. 281 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 56:385-388.
(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:385-388
What Do you Get when you Cross a Dandelion with a Rose? the True Story of a Psychoanalysis: By Vamik D. Volkan, M.D. New York: Jason Aronson, 1984. 281 pp.
Review by: Kenneth I. Gottlieb
Written accounts of psychoanalytic work are, like the psychoanalytic endeavor itself, beset with conflicts and compromises. Brief clinical vignettes, illustrative of a theoretical or clinical point, suffer from oversimplication. Extensive presentations, such as those heard in study groups or in supervised analyses, are time-consuming, and unless there is some research goal in mind, they can become tedious.
It was in response to preparing for participation in a symposium on the therapeutic process that Volkan read a colleague's verbatim transcript of a complete analysis. He reflected on the paucity of such accounts in the literature and put together the work under review for the "nonprofessional interested in learning more about the psychoanalytic process" (p. 277).
The book is an account of a successfully completed, four-year analysis of a thirty-five-year-old physician, from initial consultation through termination. The book's sections are organized to represent each of the four years of the analysis, and the individual chapters are harmoniously arranged according to predominant analytic themes. An epilogue contains the patient's reaction to the manuscript.
The title of the book derives from the patient's either-or view of people. Had his mother, adopted as a child, been of noble birth or the child of gypsies? His attempts to "cross" roses and dandelions, to integrate the grandiose and the degraded, in himself and others, were elaborated in the analytic work.
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