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Frank, G. (1982-83). The Childhood Emotional Pattern and Human Hostility. Leon J. Saul, M.D. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1980, 322 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 69(4):571-573.

(1982-83). Psychoanalytic Review, 69(4):571-573

The Childhood Emotional Pattern and Human Hostility. Leon J. Saul, M.D. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1980, 322 pp.

Review by:
George Frank

In this world of self-object representations, horizontal and vertical splitting, projective identification, stages of object relations, object constancy, and transmuting internalizations, terms that seem to abound in contemporary theorizing in psychoanalysis, along comes dr. saul's work on hostility, written in simple, straightforward language and remarkably free of jargon. leon saul is attempting to do for hostility what freud did for sex, viz., see its roots and its many modes of expression: direct and indirect, overt or symbolic, realistic, neurotic, characterological, or psychotic.

Basically, dr. saul's theorizing is clearly within the freudian mode: “… we can say that every individual is motivated simultaneously by two sets of forces operating, as it were, on two levels: the conscious and reasonable, and the unconscious and irrational.” unconscious facets of behavior, for saul, involve immature, no longer relevant reactions and behavior due to “man's animal impulses, urges, motivations and reactions.” for saul, all behavior is determined and, hence, humans are generally not responsible for their actions (although they can come to be). and all pathological behavior can be understood in terms of the fight or flight reaction, a pattern inherited from cave man and jungle life. but dr. saul posits that both reactions exist in man in that all forms of psychopathology always involve some degree of hostility (i.e., fight) even though they may be seen as attempts at flight from conflict. and for dr. saul (as for freud) all behavior can be traced back to roots in childhood, particularly the parenting during the first six years of life. dr. saul observes that unlike most animals humans have a strong tendency to act hostilly towards their own kind, often without apparent provocation, to engage in mass hostility (wars), child abuse, etc. “what are the sources of this hostility?” dr.

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