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Stuart-Smith, S. (2001). Psychodynamic Perspectives on Abuse: The Cost of Fear. Edited by Una McCluskey & Carol-Ann Hooper. London: Jessica Kingsley. Pp. 319. £16.95.. Psychoanal. Psychother., 15(3):295-297.

(2001). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 15(3):295-297

Book Review

Psychodynamic Perspectives on Abuse: The Cost of Fear. Edited by Una McCluskey & Carol-Ann Hooper. London: Jessica Kingsley. Pp. 319. £16.95.

Review by:
Sue Stuart-Smith

For a book of some 300 pages, this volume contains a striking breadth and depth of material. Given the scope of the book, and the fact that it brings together writers from different disciplines, it could easily have resulted in a book that skimmed the surface. This pitfall is avoided, on the whole, by having a mix of theoretical-type chapters and more specific chapters devoted to detailed presentation of clinical case-material.

The editors state their aim as being to contribute to

…the development of the interdisciplinary thinking and dialogue we believe is necessary to the formation and implementation of effective and compassionate responses to abuse.

The book brings together writers from analytic psychotherapy, social work and social policy, all of whom are committed to a psychodynamic way of working. Much of the academic literature on abuse restricts itself to specific types of abuse. Whilst this may be appropriate for some research, it inevitably leads to a neglect of the fact that different forms of abuse often coexist, and to some extent share common psychological origins. As such, this book is an important attempt to redress the balance. The editors deliberately did not offer contributors any definition of abuse, preferring — I think wisely — to leave the understanding of abuse as broad as possible. The range of material in the book includes childhood sexual abuse, emotional deprivation, domestic violence, bullying in the workplace, racial abuse, and politically motivated torture.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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