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Van Leeuwen, K. (1996). The Vulnerable Child, Volume 1. Edited by Theodore B. Cohen, M.D., M. Hossein Etezady, M.D. and Bernard L. Pacella, M.D. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc., 1993. 275 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 65:840-842.
(1996). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 65:840-842
The Vulnerable Child, Volume 1. Edited by Theodore B. Cohen, M.D., M. Hossein Etezady, M.D. and Bernard L. Pacella, M.D. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc., 1993. 275 pp.
Review by: Kato Van Leeuwen
The Vulnerable Child Discussion Group, skillfully conducted by Theodore B. Cohen, has been a highlight of the meetings of the American Psychoanalytic Association for over twenty years. Always stimulating and at the forefront of childpsychoanalysis, this work- shop has informed us on developmental, clinical, and theoretical issues. It has been my privilege to be present since it originated in the Committee of Social Issues in 1972 under Robert Dorn's leadership. The first chair was Eleanor Pavenstedt. Vulnerability has been addressed in its broadest sense to include the influence of poverty, discrimination, violence, abuse, and mental and physical illness on the internal psychic structure of the child.
While the group has grown over the years, the format of three presentations per meeting followed by a designated discussant has been strictly adhered to. M. Hossein Etezady's comprehensive recorded minutes are distributed upon request to those who attend.
The selection for publication in this book from the large number of presentations must have been a daunting task. A preface by Daniel Jacobs is followed by two introductory statements by Ted Cohen. One, aptly titled “Children and the Mean-Spirited Times in Which They Live,” details the extent of today's areas of vulnerability.
In her opening chapter, “The Concepts of Attachment and Bonding,” Sylvia Brody sets a standard of excellence with an impressive review of the literature. Her trenchant criticism of Bowlby contrasts his view with object relations and drive theory. On the basis of his Kleinian orientation, Bowlby considers psychoanalysts prisoners of Freudian theories of orality and narcissism. I, however, feel that it is incumbent upon us to look at the research and clinical contributions reported here and to re-examine this area of psychoanalytic theory.
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