PSYCHOANALYSIS IN OUR TIME by Stefi Pedersen

PSYCHOANALYSIS IN OUR TIME

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a collection of essays by a Swedish psychoanalyst (in effortless translation by Victoria Schultz) of sustained interest and availability particularly since Dr. Pedersen draws from such a wide range of experience beyond her patient load -- intellectual, aesthetic and psychosocial. The opening pieces, and one later one, deal with the depersonalization of the refugee experience -- the numbing of the psyche immured by the years ""among the dying and the dead,"" sometimes abreacting in para-noia. There are two long commemorative pieces on Freud, one leading from his essential respect for morality to the larger question of the way in which he related the individual to his ideological and cultural past and present. There is a discussion of Erik Erikson's Luther who anticipated mod-em man's loneliness and tragic imperfection. Dr. Pedersen relates the increased incidence of neurosis in our time to the freer options (humility, acceptance, etc. are obsolete virtues) of a less stationary society. And she reevaluates and revises her own concept of the analytic relationship (obviously conditioned by Freud -- no more Olympian isolation) to reflect the ""democratization"" of the times in which we are living; there is also the backlash of a cold, mechanical, urban environment in which phobia becomes the most prominent and typical neurotic symptom. Dr. Pedersen draws equally from Laing and Coles as well as older mentors in the field -- Fromm, Reik, the Freuds, but there is nothing doctrinaire or restrictive in her view of the overriding anomie -- alienation. Certainly she is never guilty of the ""tendency in psychoanalysis to forget the human purpose of life.

Pub Date: Jan. 26th, 1972
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill