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Brookes, C.E. (2015). From Classical to Contemporary Psychoanalysis: A Critique and Integration, by Morris N. Eagle, Routledge, New York, 2011, 346 pp.. Psychodyn. Psych., 43(3):507-512.

(2015). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 43(3):507-512

From Classical to Contemporary Psychoanalysis: A Critique and Integration, by Morris N. Eagle, Routledge, New York, 2011, 346 pp.

Review by:
Crittenden E. Brookes, M.D., Ph.D.

This rather amazing book was not an easy review. The difficulty in responding to the book probably stems from a number of factors. Freudian psychoanalysis, as differentiated from other theoretical and clinical psychodynamic positions that have increasingly encroached on references to, and usage of the term “psychoanalysis” itself, has some characteristics relevant to this difficulty. One of these (in the opinion of this reviewer and others) is that it is a closed theoretical system (Langs, 1992, p. 29). That is, from its inception it was an explanatory system having to do with the human mind and by extension human behavior, that validated itself through a special brand of solipsism: the implied idea that the only validation of the theory is the “reality” of the theory itself—the theory validates itself through resorting to terms and ideas already established within the theory. This allows the theorizer to elaborate his or her theory at heart's content without necessary direct connection to the actual behavior (in this case within and outside the consulting room) from which the theory supposedly derives, and is the opposite of an open theoretical system, which seeks validation in data that exist external to the system. In short, the theory exists without necessary reference to clinical data, although that reference can at times be traced to a certain degree.


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