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Perman, G.P. (2017). A Clinical Introduction to Freud: Techniques for Everyday Practice, by Bruce Fink, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 2017, 358 pp.. Psychodyn. Psych., 45(4):617-622.

(2017). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 45(4):617-622

A Clinical Introduction to Freud: Techniques for Everyday Practice, by Bruce Fink, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 2017, 358 pp.

Review by:
Gerald P. Perman, M.D.

Bruce Fink is an American psychoanalyst, author, and teacher, who, over many years, has brought the ideas and writings of Jacques Lacan (1901-1981) to an English-speaking mental health audience. In this, his most recent book, he takes up an important aspect of Lacan's work, that of a “Return to Freud,” by focusing on foundational ideas of Freud that continue to have broad applicability to the clinical practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Freud allegedly quipped to Jung on his 1909 voyage to Clark University that: “They don't realize that we are bringing them the plague (psychoanalysis)” and many, if not most, clinicians (whatever their native tongue) who have tried to wade into the work of Jacques Lacan must feel that they have had a similar experience. In this regard, Bruce Fink has been constructing bridges to allow the English-speaking reader to grasp important aspects of what Lacan attempts to convey. A Clinical Introduction to Freud: Techniques for Everyday Practice is divided into an introduction, seven chapters, appendices, and notes. Fink makes reference to Lacan throughout the book, but does this with a light touch through occasional quotations before each chapter, within the text itself, in the appendices, and in the chapter notes at the back of the book. There are many more references to Freud, and it is on the Freudian bedrock that Fink's book is built. Fink criticizes Freud's ideas and practice where he finds fault, but he is forceful in his defense of Freud elsewhere, and he dissects Freud's critics where he finds their views untenable.


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