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Frank, G. (1996). The Evolution and Application of Clinical Theory: Perspectives from Four Psychologies. Judith Marks Mishne. New York: Free Press, 1993, 444 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 83(1):139-140.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Review, 83(1):139-140


The Evolution and Application of Clinical Theory: Perspectives from Four Psychologies. Judith Marks Mishne. New York: Free Press, 1993, 444 pp.

Review by:
George Frank, Ph.D.

Mishne joins a growing number of psychoanalysts (Mishne trained in the child therapy program of the Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis) who have addressed the relationship of the four “psychologies”: drive psychology, ego psychology, self psychology, and object relations theory to each other and to clinical work, that is, she joins Pine (1985, 1988a, 1988b, 1990) and the contributors to the edited book by Rothstein (1988).

In good teaching style, Mishne, a professor of Social Work at New York University, makes reference to a wealth of relevant papers and books in psychoanalysis, which are generously cited throughout the text. Her style of presentation is clear and unencumbered by undue complexity of phrasing and/or jargon.

Mishne's goal in writing this book was to view various issues in psychoanalysis from the perspective of the four “psychologies.” In that regard, the chapter on Freud and his followers, the four chapters on each of the four perspectives in psychoanalysis, and the chapter presenting case material and how the data would be conceptualized from the point of view of each perspective, were done well. Had Mishne stopped with these chapters, she would have achieved her goal handily. These chapters are written in a warm personal style with interesting and informative anecdotal material about the individuals involved.

Mishne, however, continues her book, addressing controversies and conflicts within and between the four paradigms, the controversy between the conflict and deficit model of psychopathology, and the controversy as to whether interpretation or relationship are the mutative aspects of psychoanalytic treatment. These last chapters are sketchy and lack depth; thus, all the important controversial issues addressed get short shrift. In my opinion, this latter section fails to match the clarity and depth of informativeness of the first seven chapters of the book.

Another of Mishne's goals was to address the clinical implications of these four different perspectives.

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