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Rohleder, P. (2019). Textbook of applied psychoanalysis: edited by Salman Akhtar and Stuart Twemlow, Abingdon and New York, Routledge, 2018, 484 pp., £65 (hardback), ISBN 978-1-78220-187-8. Psychoanal. Psychother., 33(2):142-144.
Textbook of applied psychoanalysis: edited by Salman Akhtar and Stuart Twemlow, Abingdon and New York, Routledge, 2018, 484 pp., £65 (hardback), ISBN 978-1-78220-187-8
This unique and exciting volume brings to life the usefulness and importance of psychoanalytic thinking on a wide range of social, biological and cultural issues. It provides a rich tapestry of wide-ranging topics and outlines the valuable contribution that psychoanalysis has to make in these areas.
The book is organised into six parts, covering topics related to social science disciplines (such as history and philosophy), the human body (including neuropsychoanalysis and sports), social turbulences (such as migration, poverty and trauma), social praxis (such as education and health policy), the arts (including architecture and poetry) and the performing arts (such as dancing and theatre). The book contains 35 chapters, written by experts in their field. The style of the chapters differ: some offering an outline of the topic, others looking at an issue more in depth, and some adopting a more reflective and autobiographical focus. On the whole, the chapters are accessible and engaging, and I could comfortably follow content that I was at times not familiar with.
The way that psychoanalytic theory is utilised across the chapters also varies, with many applying psychoanalytic theory to understanding the phenomena being looked at (for example, the chapters on prejudice or on theatre), others considering the contribution that psychoanalysis can make to other disciplines and vice versa (for example, anthropology); while a small number consider the relevance of social and cultural matters for psychoanalytic practice (for example, the chapter on religion), or describe a psychoanalytically informed intervention or project (for example, the chapters on community psychoanalysis and on architecture). The approaches taken differ greatly, and there are some real refreshing gems in here.
It is not a book to read from cover to cover, although I did so for the purposes of writing this review. It is best approached, as the title suggests, as a textbook that can be dipped in and out of, where the reader can discover something new each time. Some of my favourite chapters were on topics that I was not that familiar with. The chapter on music stood out for me as a particularly unique example, as it is presented following an imagined discussion between Freud and Mozart about music.
[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]