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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: Written by leading psychiatrists in the various schools that make up this diverse field, this is an update of a book on psychoanalysis last published in 2005.
Purpose: Penned to reach a broad audience, this revision is meant to provide a fundamental knowledge base regarding a wide range of topics in the field, from core concepts of therapy, to research in the field, to how the discipline interacts with other specialties inside and outside of medicine.
Audience: Though written for "the beginning student" to the "seasoned analyst or academician," this book seems more appropriate for those with at least some clinical experience in the fields of psychiatry or psychology.
Features: New to this edition is the focus on the variety of approaches within the category of American psychoanalysis; the previous edition had a more international scope. Though there are few diagrams, tables, or illustrations, each chapter ends with a "Key Points" section and current and relevant references. Additionally, clinically useful case examples highlight important ideas. Most intriguing are the chapters involving psychoanalysis and the practice as it relates to other areas, including literature, film, music, anthropology, and the visual arts.
Assessment: Though I have little experience with the previous edition of this book, it is clear the revisions are well thought out and relevant to the current practice of psychoanalysis in any of its forms. The discussions are thoughtful and carefully crafted, yet maintain a sense of brevity to prevent overwhelming readers with too much detail, which can distract from the overall clinical picture. Although it is unlikely that a novice could open this book and immediately comprehend many of its concepts, the art, science, and practice of psychoanalysis is mastered over the span of many years, and this book is a good companion for this learning process.