The Mark of Cain: Psychoanalytic Insight and the Psychopath

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The Mark of Cain makes available for the first time the accumulated psychoanalytic understanding of the psychopathic mind. Editor Reid Meloy, a leading authority on the psychology of the psychopath, has brought together in a single collection the most historically important psychoanalytic papers on the psychopath - papers by Helene Deutsch, Wilhelm Reich, John Bowlby, Phyllis Greenacre, August Aichhorn, Adelaide Johnson, Donald Winnicott, Betty Joseph, Neville Symington, Ben Bursten, and Otto Kernberg, among others - and delineated their continuing relevance to contemporary understanding.

According to Meloy, two theoretical traditions flow into the psychoanalytic understanding of psychopathy. The first tributary focuses on the early development of the psychopath in order to illuminate how a profound alteration in self-regard leads both to a denigration of the other and to an impulsive search for gratification in the present. The second tributary seeks to locate the psychopathic miscarriage of human potentiality within analytic theories of personality structure and clinically grounded differential diagnosis. The Mark of Cain presents the major contributions associated with both of these traditions. Included within this body of literature are the original formulations of concepts that have long since become part of the psychoanalytic nomenclature: the "affectionless" juvenile offender, the diagnostic significance of "affect hunger," the behavioral consequences of "superego lacunae," the recourse to promiscuous identification in "the impostor," and the paradoxically lethal lure of "malignant narcissism." .

Of special note are Meloy's historical notes to each chapter and two section introductions, the latter major essays in their own right. In the spirit of integration that typifies his approach to psychopathy, Meloy shows how a profoundly disordered attachment history and the early appearance of a severe conduct disorder, two psychodiagnostic indicators of psychopathy, can be reconfigured in the context of current biological and sociological research. Equally conversant with the treatment issues specific to this difficult patient population, he illuminates how the distinctive countertransference responses elicited by the psychopath may assist the clinician in avoiding victimization. .

The explosion of empirical research on psychopathy over the past two decades masks the fact that much contemporary work in this area is grounded in the clinical formulations of leading psychoanalysts of the twentieth century. The Mark of Cain rescues this intimate understanding of the inner world of the psychopath and thereby contributes to clinical realism in the face of deception, manipulation, exploitation, and even frank dangerousness.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In The Mark of Cain, Reid Meloy documents the massive contribution that psychoanalysis has made to the understanding of psychopathy. It is a masterful collection of all the key contributions to the field, carefully chosen by a preeminent authority in the areas of psychoanalytic criminology and forensic psychology. And Meloy's introductions are an added bonus: they gently guide the reader through the labyrinth of the psychopathic mind in its conscious and unconscious dimensions. This is a book for all those keen to have an overview of psychodynamic contributions to the most dangerous disorder of our times."

- Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., Freud Memorial Professor of Psychoanalysis, University of London

"J. Reid Meloy, America's foremost authority on the psychopathic mind, has brought together in one volume the accumulated wisdom that follows from the psychoanalytic investigation of psychopathy. Most impressively, he has contextualized these classic contributions with brilliant commentary that weaves diverse perspectives into an integrated clinical tapestry that will be of great value to both beginning and experienced clinicians."

- Glen O. Gabbard, M.D., Callaway Distinguished Professor of Psychoanalysis

"Meloy's insightful commentaries place this integrated collection of psychoanalytic contributions to psychopathy within a contemporary context. It is sobering to recognize that over 50 years ago psychoanalysts struggled to understand the inner world of the psychopath and, in so doing, came to understand the importance of the need for human bonds of affection. They understood as well the correlation between the psychopath's failure to develop bonds of affection within secure relationships and the expression of hatred. How much hatred, how much lack of regard for the life of others, will it take for us to listen? The Mark of Cain is a must for anyone interested in psychic development, in violence prevention, in treatment of the psychopath, or in the broad partnership of justice, human development, and social policy."

- Phyllis Tyson, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Psychitry, UC San Diego

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780881633108
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 8/10/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

J. Reid Meloy, Ph.D., is associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law. A past president of the American Academy of Forensic Psychology, he is the author of numerous books and articles on psychopathy. He currently devotes his time to a private civil and criminal forensic practive and to research, writing, and teaching in this area.

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Table of Contents

Sect. I Development and Psychodynamics 1
1 Introduction to Section I 3
2 Primary Affect Hunger 25
3 Forty-Four Juvenile Thieves: Their Characters and Home-Life 35
4 Conscience in the Psychopath 43
5 Psychopathic Behavior Disorders in Children 63
6 Latent Delinquency and Ego Development 79
7 Sanctions for Superego Lacunae of Adolescents 91
8 The Impostor: Contribution to Ego Psychology of a Type of Psychopath 115
9 The Antisocial Tendency 133
10 Time and the Character Disorder 145
11 Psychopathy, Freedom, and Criminal Behavior 155
12 The Psychology of Wickedness: Psychopathy and Sadism 171
Sect. II Treatment, Risk Management, and Psychodiagnosis 181
13 Introduction to Section II 183
14 The Phallic-Narcissistic Character 205
15 The Narcissistic Transference of the "Juvenile Impostor" 213
16 Some Characteristics of the Psychopathic Personality 227
17 Some Narcissistic Personality Types 239
18 Outpatient Treatment of Psychopaths 265
19 The Response Aroused by the Psychopath 283
20 The Treatment of Antisocial Syndromes: The Therapist's Feelings 297
21 The Narcissistic Personality Disorder and the Differential Diagnosis of Antisocial Behavior 315
Index 339
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