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Bloch, D. (1974). The Scope of Child Analysis. Victor Smirnoff. New York: International Universities Press, 1971. xx + 14 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 61(2):325.
(1974). Psychoanalytic Review, 61(2):325
The Scope of Child Analysis. Victor Smirnoff. New York: International Universities Press, 1971. xx + 14 pp.
Review by: Dorothy Bloch
Victor Smirnoff concludes The Scope of Child Analysis with the statement, “This book was not written for analysts, but as we have already said, for all those interested in the “human sciences.'” On the other hand, the foreword, written by M. Masud Kahn, informs us, “This is a book that one hopes everyone interested in learning about child analysis or teaching it will read with care and pleasure.” Kahn goes on to describe it as “the first truly integrative, as well as almost encyclopedic, account of the essential research in child analysis in England, France, America and Germany.” Since the book numbers two hundred and fourteen pages, we cannot help being impressed in advance by such a promise.
It is therefore all the more disappointing to report that, in this reviewer's opinion, the book fulfills none of the promised functions. One cannot imagine a lay person who would find the book either informative or enjoyable. Students or practicing analysts will, unfortunately, not find much help, stimulation, or enlightenment in Smirnoff's discussion of concepts or theoretical points of view either. As one reads, the impression grows that Smirnoff may have had little experience himself with child analysis but may simply have collated concepts and theories and presented them without the benefit that accrues from experiential sifting and processing. Smirnoff is consequently forced to operate within a limited framework, yet even here he doesn't present with any degree of accuracy or clarity either the origins of psychoanalytic theory or more recent developments.
Perhaps the greatest contribution of his book is the title, which may inspire other writers to explore “the scope of child analysis” and to emerge with a work that enables us to orient ourselves in relation to both Freud's original teachings and the dynamicdevelopment of subsequent analytic theory and practice.
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