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Tauber, G. (1971). Lectures in Medical Psychology: An Introduction to the Care of Patients. Grete L. Bibring and Ralph J. Kahana. New York: International Universities Press, 1968. 303 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 58(1):159.

(1971). Psychoanalytic Review, 58(1):159

Lectures in Medical Psychology: An Introduction to the Care of Patients. Grete L. Bibring and Ralph J. Kahana. New York: International Universities Press, 1968. 303 pp.

Review by:
Gisela Tauber

This book is based on lectures given by Dr. Bibring during a period of over twenty years to Harvard medical students, and to the medical, psychological and social service staff of Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. Dr. Kahana served as a consultant in selecting these lectures for publication.

Dr. Bibring stresses the need for psychoanalytic understanding of patients suffering from organic diseases. She starts with the presentation of psychodynamic concepts illustrated by rich clinical material. Psychoanalytic psychology is seen as a bridge between biological and social sciences, and particular emphasis is placed upon new findings in endocrinology and psychosomatic medicine. In the lecture on “Psychoanalytic Psychology as a Science” the problems of verification, validation and prediction are discussed and the conclusion reached that psychoanalysis is a true science.

Individual development is presented with an emphasis upon “critical periods of life”— puberty, pregnancy and aging. The specific somatic and psychological changes at each stage are discussed as well as ways in which these changes may be “supporting or interfering with each other.”

Although these lectures were intended to develop psychological understanding among medical staff, they seem equally helpful to a more general readership in pointing out medical conditions and medical treatment in relation to underlying and resulting psychological stress. The book is written in clear and simple terms. It is a thorough treatise and strikes a balance between a warm, empathic attitude towards the patient and the need for detached, scientific exploration of psychosomatic phenomena. This volume is highly recommended to workers in the fields of medicine, psychology and social work.

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