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Goodman, G. (2005). PRIMITIVE MENTAL STATES, VOLUME 2: PRENATAL DEVELOPMENT GETS ITS DUE. Edited by Shelley Alhanati, Ph.D. London: Karnac, 2002. 278 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 74(3):887-896.

(2005). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 74(3):887-896

PRIMITIVE MENTAL STATES, VOLUME 2: PRENATAL DEVELOPMENT GETS ITS DUE. Edited by Shelley Alhanati, Ph.D. London: Karnac, 2002. 278 pp.

Review by:
Geoff Goodman

Thought provoking, sometimes controversial, this volume explores what the editor describes as primitive mental states that originate not in the cauldron of mother–infant interaction—so frequently covered in the object relations and intersubjective literature over the past fifty years—but rather in “early (preand perinatal) trauma” (p. xvii). This book, therefore, represents a radical departure from what could now be described as mainstream psychoanalytic thought. Who among us has recently made a clinical interpretation that contains an allusion to prenatal or perinatal states of mind, much less experience? It is this element of subversiveness that I found so intriguing, and yet problematic.

Nearly all the authors are affiliated with the Psychoanalytic Center of California in Los Angeles—Ground Zero for contemporary thinking inspired by the work of Wilfred Bion.

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