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Skolnikoff, A.Z. (1989). Conceptual Issues in Psychoanalysis. Essays in History and Method: By John E. Gedo, M.D., Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1986. 243 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 58:116-121.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:116-121

Conceptual Issues in Psychoanalysis. Essays in History and Method: By John E. Gedo, M.D., Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1986. 243 pp.

Review by:
Alan Z. Skolnikoff

Here is a collection of essays by one of the most prolific and thoughtful writers in the field of psychoanalysis today. Although one may disagree with many of Gedo's conclusions, it is very stimulating to follow his complex questions and theorizing. This volume should primarily interest those clinicians who continue to want to test and understand the relationship between psychoanalytic process and theory. These essays should also interest psychoanalytically oriented researchers in infant development and readers who are curious about the history of ideas within psychoanalysis. The essays are grouped in two major sections. First is a historical section, in which Gedo tries to show some dichotomies in the development of the ideas of Freud and Ferenczi, and reflects upon how subsequent thinkers, such as Lou Andreas-Salomé, David Rapaport, Melanie Klein, and Heinz Kohut, reacted to and were influenced by those who preceded them, as well as by one another. The second major section is methodological. It focuses on the interrelationship between psychoanalytic theory and the direct observation of behavior. These chapters deal primarily with the work of Henri Parens and Joseph Lichtenberg, and their understanding of how observations of infant behavior influence and alter psychoanalytic theory.

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