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Spielman, P. (1990). Facilitating Psychotherapy: Selected Papers of Sidney Levin M.D. Edited by Lois A. Levin, Ph.D. New York: Irvington Publishers, Inc., 1987. 229 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 59:276-279.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:276-279

Facilitating Psychotherapy: Selected Papers of Sidney Levin M.D. Edited by Lois A. Levin, Ph.D. New York: Irvington Publishers, Inc., 1987. 229 pp.

Review by:
Philip Spielman

Sidney Levin (1912-1981) wrote widely on a variety of subjects in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. In this privately published book, edited by his daughter, we are given thirteen of his papers. They convey a sense of his varied interests: the psychotherapy of depression, the elderly, college students, psychosomatic medicine, group therapy, marital incompatibility, the psychology of shame and entitlement, and gift-giving to children in psychotherapy. The title of this collection, Facilitating Psychotherapy, indicates the practical aim of many of these papers.

The papers are classified under four headings: (1) Affects: Depression; (2) Affects: Shame; (3) Active Intervention Techniques; and (4) Specialized Treatment Interventions.

There are four papers in the first section. "Suggestions for Treating the Depressed Patient" (1965) is a thoughtful, pragmatic approach to treating depression and includes an understanding of interactions in marriages that favor depression in one of the partners. "Separation from Home in College Students" (1967) describes hidden depression attendant to leaving home. "Depressive Factors in Psychosomatic Illness: Peptic Ulcer" (1971) offers clinical illustrations of ulcer symptoms precipitated by depression. The final paper in this section, "The Distribution of Libido in the Aged" (1965) is a sensible account of the psychological impact of physical, mental, and situational changes in the elderly and the need for a "redistribution" of libido to cope with these changes. Levin makes an excellent point in stressing the importance of touch in this age group:

It is worth noting that the elderly female is usually given greater permission to obtain direct satisfaction of libido by means of bodily contact with children, either through sleeping arrangements or otherwise, whereas elderly males are apt to be considered perverted in either a heterosexual or homosexual direction if they need such contacts… Our Western culture demands a fair amount of restriction of such closeness in everyday life, especially of the aged (pp. 37-38).

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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