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Levy, S.T. (1990). The Anatomy of Psychotherapy: By Lawrence Friedman. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1988. 601 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 59:273-275.
(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:273-275
The Anatomy of Psychotherapy: By Lawrence Friedman. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1988. 601 pp.
Review by: Steven T. Levy
Lawrence Friedman's book includes many of his ideas which have appeared in papers published in analytic and other journals during the past two decades. It is a book about psychoanalysis and its derivative psychotherapies, written mostly from a psychoanalytic perspective. As such, it will be of considerable interest to analytic clinicians and theorists. Given the author's erudition, creativity, irreverent skepticism, and curmudgeonly rhetorical approach, one has every reason to expect a demanding, fascinating, and often entertaining read. Friedman's work does not disappoint.
The author emphasizes that the psychotherapeutic enterprise is difficult and stressful for both its participants. Stress and difficulty are, for Friedman, the mother of invention, in this instance the invention of theory of the mind and theory of therapy. He attempts to demonstrate that Freud's theories, as well as many psychoanalytic revisionist contributions to theory, owe their birth to an attempt to reduce the stress on the therapist and make the therapeutic task more manageable. Similarly, the inherent ambiguities of the therapeutic encounter that lie behind the difficulties and stressfulness of the work require exploration and explanation from multiple perspectives in order to apprehend them, at least temporarily. Friedman approaches his anatomical dissection from many perspectives, including the philosophical, the abstractly theoretical, the clinically experiential, and the humanistically integrative, among others. One sees the same phenomena (i.e., therapeutic alliance, suggestion, transference) illuminated from various vantage points throughout the text.
As this is a collection of manuscripts on different subjects tied together by the author's rhetorical "bookmaking" device—the dissection of the subject of psychotherapy—it becomes the author's task to present a cohesive, readable and integrated whole. He sets out to do this by dividing his work into a variety of sections. He begins from the perspective of the therapist's discomfort. The highlight of this section is Friedman's dissection of the concept of the therapeutic alliance.
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