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Worf, H.R. (1974). Teaching and the Unconscious Mind. John C. Hill. New York: International Universities Press, 1971. 165 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 61(1):151-152.

(1974). Psychoanalytic Review, 61(1):151-152

Teaching and the Unconscious Mind. John C. Hill. New York: International Universities Press, 1971. 165 pp.

Review by:
H. R. Worf

Although Teaching and the Unconscious Mind does not stake out new ground in the field of education and psychoanalysis—A. S. Neill's Summerhill, Sylvia Ashton-Warner's Teacher, and Edgar Friedenberg's The Vanishing Adolescent are more adventurous efforts—Hill has been a pioneer in applied psychoanalysis (an Inspector of Schools for the London County Council in 1930) who deserves our attention. By reading these prudent and humane essays on the relationship between education and psychoanalysis, we can affirm some of the single factors, now taken for granted and often forgotten, that contribute to the child's development: the appropriate management of instinctual energies; the decisive role of play and fantasy; the significance of the needs of the individual child. Unlike many American analytic educators, Hill does not advance freedom at the expense of control. For him the aim of education is self-control and self-imposed discipline in the service of freedom, i.e., mastery and choice. And Hill knows that it is often gentle and supportive instruction that allows the child to be free. Instruction should not be relinquished; rather, it should be made interesting and attached to the child's immediate field of response.

If I have a quarrel with this book, it lies in Hill's emphasis on the phylogenetic and Jungian elements attributed too easily to Freud. If Freud and Jung agree, as they do, that symbols persist in the unconscious, it must be made clear that symbols function for Freud in the context of associative elaboration. In education, one must pay attention to symbolization as a mediating force between self and environment, as an adaptive function in the service of the ego—not to symbols per se as isolated “archaic inheritances.” It is particularly appropriate that Hill should receive recognition now when the gains of the British infant school movement have been imported into our own educational system.

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