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Fuqua, P.B. (1996). Oedipus and Beyond: A Clinical Theory: Jay Greenberg. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991, x + 274 pp., $35 (hardcover), $15.95 (paper). Psychoanal. Psychol., 13(3):433-437.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 13(3):433-437

Oedipus and Beyond: A Clinical Theory: Jay Greenberg. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991, x + 274 pp., $35 (hardcover), $15.95 (paper)

Review by:
Paula B. Fuqua, M.D.

The book Object Relations Theory in Psychoanalysis, co-authored by Jay Greenberg and Stephen Mitchell, has become a much admired standard text in psychoanalysis since its publication in 1983. Now each author has come out with a further exposition of his individual clinical and theoretical point of view. Mitchell's opus is Relational Concepts in Psychoanalysis. Oedipus and Beyond is Jay Greenberg's personal statement. In this volume he critiques extant theory and proposes a restructuring of the drive concept, creating a unique version of metapsychology. The result is fascinating, challenging, and perplexing. The fascination comes from Greenberg's remarkable ability to grasp and integrate theory, both Freudian and post-Freudian. Greenberg's book is challenging because it requires the reader to flex his or her own mental muscles quite a bit to keep up with the metapsychological reasoning. Finally, the work is perplexing because there seems to me to be a number of weaknesses and loose ends in Greenberg's approach.

The volume covers three areas. First comes an extensive discussion of the theory of drive, conflict, biology, and the Oedipus complex. Greenberg demonstrates how Freud's theory is wanting and why it cannot be biological. He also describes how others have tried to repair the Freudian flaws and yet remain politically correct by pretending that their modifications represent no deviation from Freud's essential message. Although we need to drop the biological basis for the drives, Greenberg continues, we should not throw out the baby with the bath water. Like Roy Schafer, he believes that there is still an experiential drivenness in behavior that we must take into account in our theory formation. He also believes that conflict remains an essential feature of all mental life.

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