email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
A Basic Theory of NeuropsychoanalysisA Cursing Brain?A Dream of Undying FameA Map of the MindAfter LacanAgainst AdaptationAgainst FreudAn Anatomy of AddictionAnalytic FreudAndré Green at the Squiggle FoundationAnger, Madness, and the DaimonicAnna FreudAnna Freud: A BiographyApproaching PsychoanalysisAttachment and PsychoanalysisBadiouBecoming a SubjectBefore ForgivingBerlin PsychoanalyticBetween Emotion and CognitionBeyond GenderBeyond SexualityBeyond the Pleasure PrincipleBiology of FreedomBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBuilding on BionCare of the PsycheCarl JungCassandra's DaughterCherishmentConfusion of TonguesContemporary Psychoanalysis and the Legacy of the Third ReichCrucial Choices, Crucial ChangesCulture and Conflict in Child and Adolescent Mental HealthDarwin's WormsDesert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974)Dispatches from the Freud WarsDoes the Woman Exist?Doing Psychoanalysis in TehranDreaming and Other Involuntary MentationDreaming by the BookEnergy Psychology InteractiveEqualsErrant SelvesEthics and the Discovery of the UnconsciousEthics Case Book of the American Psychoanalytic AssociationFairbairn's Object Relations Theory in the Clinical SettingFed with Tears -- Poisoned with MilkFeminism and Its DiscontentsForms of Intersubjectivity in Infant Reasearch and Adult TreatmentFour Lessons of PsychoanalysisFratricide in the Holy LandFreudFreudFreudFreudFreudFreudFreud and the Question of PseudoscienceFreud As PhilosopherFreud at 150Freud's AnswerFreud's WizardFreud, the Reluctant PhilosopherFrom Classical to Contemporary PsychoanalysisFundamentals of Psychoanalytic TechniqueGenes on the CouchGoing SaneHans BellmerHappiness, Death, and the Remainder of LifeHate and Love in Psychoanalytical InstitutionsHatred and ForgivenessHealing the Soul in the Age of the BrainHeinz KohutHeinz KohutHidden MindsHistory of ShitHope and Dread in PsychoanalysisImagination and Its PathologiesImagine There's No WomanIn Freud's TracksIn SessionIn the Floyd ArchivesIntimaciesIntimate RevoltIrrationalityIs Oedipus Online?Jacques LacanJacques Lacan and the Freudian Practice of PsychoanalysisJung and the Making of Modern PsychologyJung Stripped BareKilling FreudLacanLacanLacanLacan and Contemporary FilmLacan at the SceneLacan For BeginnersLacan in AmericaLacan TodayLacan's Seminar on AnxietyLawLearning from Our MistakesLove's ExecutionerMad Men and MedusasMale Female EmailMelanie KleinMemoirs of My Nervous IllnessMental SlaveryMind to MindMixing MindsMoral StealthMourning and ModernityMovies and the MindMurder in ByzantiumNew Studies of Old VillainsNocturnesNoir AnxietyOn Being Normal and Other DisordersOn BeliefOn IncestOn Not Being Able to SleepOn the Freud WatchOn the Way HomeOpen MindedOpera's Second DeathOvercoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and BehaviorsPhenomology & Lacan on Schizophrenia, After the Decade of the BrainPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPractical Psychoanalysis for Therapists and PatientsPsychiatry, Psychoanalysis, And The New Biology Of MindPsychoanalysisPsychoanalysis and Narrative MedicinePsychoanalysis and NeurosciencePsychoanalysis and the Philosophy of SciencePsychoanalysis as Biological SciencePsychoanalysis at the MarginsPsychoanalysis at the MarginsPsychoanalysis in a New LightPsychoanalysis in FocusPsychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human RelationshipsPsychotherapy As PraxisPutnam CampQuestions for FreudRe-Inventing the SymptomReading Seminar XXReinventing the SoulRelational Theory and the Practice of PsychotherapyRelationalityRepressed SpacesRevolt, She SaidSecrets of the SoulSerious ShoppingSex on the CouchSexuationSigmund FreudSoul Murder RevisitedSpectral EvidenceSpirit, Mind, and BrainStrangers to OurselvesSubjective Experience and the Logic of the OtherSubjectivity and OthernessSubstance Abuse As SymptomSurrealist Painters and PoetsTaboo SubjectsTalk is Not EnoughThe Art of the SubjectThe Brain and the Inner WorldThe Brain, the Mind and the SelfThe Cambridge Companion to LacanThe Challenge for Psychoanalysis and PsychotherapyThe Clinical LacanThe Colonization Of Psychic SpaceThe Condition of MadnessThe Couch and the TreeThe Cruelty of DepressionThe Dissociative Mind in PsychoanalysisThe Dreams of InterpretationThe Examined LifeThe Fall Of An IconThe Freud EncyclopediaThe Freud FilesThe Freud WarsThe Fright of Real TearsThe Future of PsychoanalysisThe Gift of TherapyThe Heart & Soul of ChangeThe Knotted SubjectThe Last Good FreudianThe Letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto RankThe Mind According to ShakespeareThe Mystery of PersonalityThe Mythological UnconsciousThe Neuropsychology of the UnconsciousThe New PsychoanalysisThe Power of FeelingsThe Psychoanalytic MovementThe Psychoanalytic MysticThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Puppet and the DwarfThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy PracticeThe Revolt of the PrimitiveThe Seminar of Moustafa SafouanThe Sense and Non-Sense of RevoltThe Shortest ShadowThe Social History of the UnconsciousThe Surface EffectThe Symmetry of GodThe Tragedy of the SelfThe Trainings of the PsychoanalystThe UnsayableThe World of PerversionTherapeutic ActionTherapy's DelusionsThis Incredible Need to BelieveThoughts Without A ThinkerTo Redeem One Person Is to Redeem the WorldTrauma and Human ExistenceTraumatizing TheoryUmbr(a)Unconscious knowing and other essays in psycho-philosophical analysisUnderstanding Dissidence and Controversy in the History of PsychoanalysisUnderstanding PsychoanalysisUnfree AssociationsWalking HeadsWay Beyond FreudWhat Does a Woman Want?What Freud Really MeantWhen the Body SpeaksWhere Do We Fall When We Fall in Love?Whose Freud?Why Psychoanalysis?Wilhelm ReichWinnicottWinnicott On the ChildWisdom Won from IllnessWittgenstein on Freud and FrazerWittgenstein Reads FreudWorld, Affectivity, TraumaZizek
Cassandras Daughter is a book worth reading. Joseph Schwartz gives clearsometimes brilliantreadings of a variety of psychoanalysts in very readable prose style. He ably places his history of psychoanalysis in cultural and historical context. Above all, Schwartz is fair and generous in a field that is filled with hero worship or the drivel of Freud bashers. The strength of Schwartzs work its sweeping synthesis also, however, contains its one major weakness.
The main thesis of Cassandras Daughter is that psychoanalysis has undergone a paradigm shift. This sometimes rocky and personal process of change has replaced the instinctual-drive theory by a variety of relational models that do without the biological determinism of drives. This transition, according to Schwartz, did not happen at once or in one place. It occurred gradually, in the face of great resistance, and with different emphases in France, America and Britain.
Schwartz spends half his book discussing Freud and the conflicts that raged around the founder of psychoanalysis. In these chapters, Schwartz gives a fresh picture of Freud (something that is marvelous in itself). Schwartz is at his finest when he describes Freud as a second-rate scientist and a first-rate clinician caught between his allegiance to biological determinism and his sensitivity to the "context of...relationship" (pp.49). According to Schwartz, Freuds efforts to base his clinical findings in a drive theory was a distraction, a remnant of his wish to be a scientist, while his most subtle clinical work pointed to the paramount importance of "listening". The Freud that Schwartz admires is not the scientist of instincts but the person who discovers that symptoms have profound meanings rooted in relationships. For Schwartz, Freuds commitment to a drive model meant that psychoanalysis would struggle for most the twentieth century to remove the biological husk from the relational kernel. In Schwartzs word, the history of psychoanalysis has been a tumultuous struggle to reach the conclusion that: "the fundamental conflicts in the human inner world lie not in our seeking a reduction in tensions caused by unsatisfied drives but are associated with difficulties in satisfying a fundamental human need for relationship. (pp. 12-13).
Schwartz however dismisses the instinct-drive hypothesis too easily. He too quickly throws the baby out with the bath water by framing the history of psychoanalysis as a long purging of biologism. He does not consider what psychoanalysis gives up when it repudiates the instinctual dynamic model; and he is too quick to simply dismiss it as a remnant of 19th century biologism. Even if this criticism were true, it is not in itself a substantive reason to reject instinct theory. I would have appreciated a detailed criticism of the dynamic model on which the instinct theory rests. The nearest Schwartz comes to making this criticism is to quote Fairbairn to the effect that sexual dysfunction is a result of disturbed relationships, not their cause. Nor does Schwartz look at recent efforts to relate neurophysiology to the dynamic model, although these efforts may ultimately fail to link neurochemistry and physiology to a dynamic theory of unconscious conflicts.
Since Schwartzs narrative stresses the superiority of the relational perspective, he naturally emphasizes the work of a number of figures who have been deemphasized in the official psychoanalytic histories. He rehabilitates, for example, Alfred Adler for holding the view that "dysfunctional sexuality was a reflected symptom of relational conflicts" (p. 113) To a lesser degree, he also gives Carl Jung a place of importance for "his insistence that the therapist remain open to the patients suffering in such a way that he or she actually absorbs the suffering" (p.139).
For the same reasons, Schwartz stresses the development of the American interpersonal approach in his two chapters on America. He focuses on important figures like William Alanson White and Harry Stack Sullivan who develop humane interpersonal therapies for working with schizophrenics (p.166) rather than H. Brill or the post-war ego psychologists. His interesting comments on the struggle to admit nonmedical students into training institutes stress the role of William Alanson White, who admitted nonmedical students like social workers (pp. 158, 174-6), more than the equally important struggle between the New York psychoanalytic establishment and Theodore Reik, who went on to open his own lay training institute in New York (NPAP). This material is more thoroughly discussed in Hales detailed study of American psychoanalysis (Hale, 1995).
The true heroes of Schwartzs narrative are the British psychoanalystsW. R. D. Fairbairn, J. Bowlby, W. H. Winnicottwho, following the Controversial discussion of the 1940s, develop object relational or attachment approaches that Schwartz believes are truly relational. Klein plays a key early role in this paradigm shift, according to Schwartz, because she insists on the fact that the infant-parent relationship is at the heart of the childs development from birth and because of her analysis of childhood anxieties in terms of objects in the childs inner world. Her work however, according to Schwartz, remains hampered by her allegiance to Freuds drive theory, especially her insistence that the aggression of the baby was an expression of their death drive. What is required, according to Schwarz, is a fuller appreciation for how failures in human relations are the source of infantile anxieties.
The post-WWI paradigm shift, writes Schwartz, results in the emergence of three key ideas:
Key players in this paradigm shift, according to Schwartz, include John Bowlby, D. H. Winnicott, and empirical researchers of infant observation studies. But the real hero in Schwartzs narrative is W. R. D. Fairbairn who, he writes, develops "the fully psychological theory of the human personality that Freud had been searching for at the turn of the century.... (one that) left biology behind" (p. 238). In a later passage, Schwartz elaborates: "Pleasure-seeking represents deterioration of relationships. Physical pleasure, the release of the tension of unmet relational needs, simply to reduce tension per se, represents a deterioration of relationships s in compulsive sexuality, the seeking of pleasure for its own sake," (p. 239).
- Real loss and separation from the loved object are the source of infantile aggression.
- The internalization of real loss and separation, rather than innate devouring cannibalistic impulses, produce disturbed object relations.
- Therapy tries to repair damaged relationships and restore the capacity to love.
The final chapters develop the new application of forms of relational thinking to issues like the nature of subjectivity (Lacan), gender identity and culture (Horney), and the nature of the self (Kohut). In these last chapters, however, the single weakness of Schwartzs approach resurfaces. Besides its Whig structure, he is too quick to sweep up theorists as disparate as Karen Horney and Jacques Lacan into his paradigm. I do not deny that these comparisons are illuminating, but they leave too much difference out of the picture.
Any historian faces the hard tasks of making selectionswho is important and who can be left outand weaving facts into a compelling narrative. I do not agree with all the selections that Dr. Schwartz has made, but it would be boring history indeed if everyone agreed on all the finer points. In sum, Cassandra's Daughter presents the case of a paradigm shift from a biological base to relational theories in a readable and thought provoking manner that is well worth reading.
Andrew Stein has a Ph.D. in European history, an A.B.D. in psychology (he is currently finishing a doctoral-level internship), and will be a certified Psychoanalyst in one year. Professor Stein also teaches humanities classes at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He has written on Georges Bataille, the French avant-garde, Michel Foucault, and Friedrich Nietzsche. He is currently writing a book entitled Neurosis and Postindustrial Society and has a private practice in Philadelphia where he treats patients through psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
To discuss this book or the review you have just read, join the Metapsychology Discussion E-Mail Group by going to this URL: http://www.onelist.com/subscribe/metapsy-discussion