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The Short and the Long of it: What's on my Bedside Table.

Posted Sep 13 2008 3:24am

I have just picked up the recently published paperback version of R. Horacio Etchegoyen’s book: Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Technique. This book was first published in 1991 and has been on my must read for some time. At some 800 pages it needs quite some time to be read and digested. However Etchegoyen has a delightfully easy to read style and makes many of the complex concepts of psychoanalysis readily understandable, at least to me who always struggled to some degree with Freud in the original. The focus of the book is on technique and not theory and it goes well beyond the last book of this type which in my view was Greenson’s book: The Technique and Practice of Psychoanalysis which sadly only every got to Part I.

For those of you who cook I liken this book to Madeleine Kamman’s book: The Making of a Cook. Everything is covered in fine detail but this is no dry technical tome, the personal character and passion of the author comes through on page after page. It is book you can read solidly or dip into repeatedly and always come up with something new. I have a soft spot for Argentineans. A favourite poet of mine is Gorges Luis Borges. His poem: Another Poem of Gifts hangs on my wall, a reminder to keep life in perspective. Racker’s book on countertransference I return to with some regularity.

If Etchegoyen’s book is a Kamman then Coren’s book Short Term Psychotherapy is a Jamie Oliver cookbook. Short, slightly frothy with a few great recipes. Coren whips through the shorter dynamic psychotherapies in fifty or sixty pages with a competent brief few pages on each. It is the middle of this book which is the more satisfying for me with a number of chapters devoted to technique in shorter term therapy integrating a number of ideas but particularly Malan’s. There is a nice discussion for example on the when, how and the need to make transference based interpretation in shorter term dynamic therapy. These chapters are extremely practical and easy to understand. I would recommend this as an introductory text for anyone thinking about taking up short term psychodynamic therapy.

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