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Lichtenberg, J.D. (1994). Shame and the Self. Psychoanal Q., 63:124-129.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 63:124-129

Shame and the Self

Review by:
Joseph D. Lichtenberg

By Francis J. Broucek. New York/London: The Guilford Press, 1991. 168 pp.

SHAME. THE EXPOSED SELF. By Michael Lewis. New York/Toronto: The Free Press, 1992. 275 pp.

Psychoanalysts from 1926 to 1960 were largely preoccupied with psychoneuroses derived from drive distortion and intrapsychic structural conflict manifested by unconscious fantasy, anxiety, and guilt. Since then, in successive waves analysts have focused on personality and character problems involving self-esteem regulation (narcissism); sexual, physical, and psychological abuse and other traumas (the Holocaust, Vietnam); and shame. The two books reviewed here, Francis Broucek's Shame and the Self, and Michael Lewis's Shame: the Exposed Self, are part of a rapidly growing number of books devoted to explicating the role of shame in human affairs. Both books relate shame to contemporary issues of self and self-worth and to abuse; both emphasize the interplay of intrapsychic and intersubjective factors in the development, function, and consequences of shame. Both are well written, informative, and easy for me to recommend to readers across the range of mental health professions.

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