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Acklin, T. (2000). The Culture of Shame: Andrew P. Morrison, M.D. New York: Ballantine Books, 1996. 225 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 69(1):172-175.

(2000). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 69(1):172-175

The Culture of Shame: Andrew P. Morrison, M.D. New York: Ballantine Books, 1996. 225 pp.

Review by:
Thomas Acklin

Andrew Morrison's latest book, The Culture of Shame, provides a rich array of perspectives on shame. The book is exceedingly readable and virtually jargon-free. When Morrison does present theory, he does so in a very readable way, which could be easily grasped by someone not schooled in psychoanalytic literature.

The greatest strength in Morrison's writing is that he allows the reader to think and feel with the clinician himself, as he recounts various vignettes and then reflects upon them, particularly in light of the phenomenon of shame. One does wish that the vignettes were a bit more detailed and extended. The manner in which they are presented surely is affected by Morrison's wish to conceal the true identity of the individuals mentioned. The clinician, particularly the psychoanalytically trained reader, will long for more depth and detail of analysis. Nonetheless, the book is readily accessible to general readers at the same time that it provides many valuable insights for clinical work. The honesty with which Morrison reflects upon countertransference as well as transference reveals, more than anything else, the authenticity of his insights. It is particularly notable that Morrison is not afraid in his vignettes to reflect on his own feelings, and particularly to demonstrate how much he cares about the patient.


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