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Strean, H.S. (1969). Psychoanalytic Techniques: A Handbook for the Practicing Psychoanalyst. Benjamin B. Wolman (Ed.). New York: Basic Books, 1967. 596 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 56A(1):155-158.

(1969). Psychoanalytic Review, 56A(1):155-158

Psychoanalytic Techniques: A Handbook for the Practicing Psychoanalyst. Benjamin B. Wolman (Ed.). New York: Basic Books, 1967. 596 pp.

Review by:
Herbert S. Strean, D.S.W.

As the vicissitudes of life grow more complex, as psychosocial problems of individuals become intensified, the schools of psychoanalytic thought multiply and the techniques to help people in psychological trouble increase in number. Within the past decade alone, family therapy, crisis therapy, dual therapy, and many more treatments have come into vogue. Unfortunately, those who have championed their own predilections have tended to perceive others as second-class citizens, and attempts to extract common elements of diverse techniques have been rare. It is therefore refreshing, illuminating, and informative to read Dr. Benjamin Wolman's book on Psychoanalytic Techniques, which accomplishes its aim in serving as A Handbook for the Practicing Psychoanalyst by cutting across “the diversified techniques of modern psychoanalysis, as set forth by twenty-seven eminent clinicians.”

The chapters by Coltrera and Ross, Lipton, and Kanzer and Blum, respectively, provide in historical sequence an exhaustive review of Freud's writings on technique from its beginning to 1939 and also the developments of classical psychoanalytic technique since 1939. As one reads and rereads of how Freud postulated the juxtaposition of free association by the patient and evenly hovering attention and interpretation and construction by the analyst, the interpretation of resistances, the development and resolution of the transference, the aim of genetic reconstruction of pathogenic experiences, the impossibility of directly attacking symptoms, the necessity of consistently starting from the current surfaces of the material, the proper place of dream interpretation—and realizes how all of these “techniques” have stood the test of therapeutic time and have demonstrated their efficacy with many patients and many therapists—one must strongly conclude that Freud “must have been doing something right!” Yet, the issue of Freudian, Neo-Freudian, or non-Freudian psychoanalysis has continually plagued psychoanalysis almost since its inception.

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