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Jurist, E.L. (1997). Psychic Retreats: Pathological Organizations in Psychotic, Neurotic, and Borderline Patients: (New Library of Psychoanalysis, Vol. 19) by John Steiner, London and New York: Routledge, 1993, 162 pp. $19.95 (paperbound). Psychoanal. Psychol., 14(2):299-309.

(1997). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 14(2):299-309

Psychic Retreats: Pathological Organizations in Psychotic, Neurotic, and Borderline Patients: (New Library of Psychoanalysis, Vol. 19) by John Steiner, London and New York: Routledge, 1993, 162 pp. $19.95 (paperbound)

Review by:
Elliot L. Jurist, Ph.D.

The history of psychoanalysis told from an object relations point of view would make for a lively narrative. The primary object, Freud, has been loved and hated, honored and discarded, adulated and vilified—in short, both a good object and a bad object. Although the tendency to split Freud, the object, has been perennial, it became particularly apparent after Freud's death—with the emergence of Anna Freud as a good object and Melanie Klein as a bad object.

Indeed, in Kleinian terms, one might wonder if the loss of the object might have led to a regression from the depressive position, wherein an ambivalent relation to a whole object exists, to paranoid-schizoid anxieties. Can one understand the tendency to hold onto and idealize Freud as a failure of mourning? And can one detect in those who are ready to leave Freud behind a tendency to refuse to mourn? I raise such questions speculatively; they may or may not be answerable in these terms. What can be affirmed, however, is that at the present time, we seem to have reached a point where Freud is viewed ambivalently. This does not mean, of course, that Freud is not preserved as a good object by some orthodox types and scorned as a bad object by others—for example, Crews's (1993) infamous pieces in the New York Review of Books.

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