email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
"Intimate" Violence against Women3 NBS of Julian DrewA Little PregnantA Natural History of RapeA Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning AutismA Stir of BonesAbout a BoyAdult Children of Emotionally Immature ParentsAgainst MarriageAgainst MarriageAlmost a PsychopathAlone TogetherAnatomy of LoveAngelsAnother CountryAnxious ParentsApples and OrangesBe Honest--You're Not That Into Him EitherBeing the Other OneBetrayed as BoysBeyond AddictionBipolar DisorderBoys Will Put You on a Pedestal (So They Can Look Up Your Skirt)Breaking ApartBrief Adolescent Therapy Homework PlannerBringing Up ParentsBut I Love HimCaring for a Child with AutismCaring in Remembered WaysCherishmentChildren of the Aging Self-AbsorbedChildren of the Self-AbsorbedChildren, Families, and Health Care Decision MakingClawsCloserCold HitCoping With Difficult PeopleCouple SkillsCruddyDancing in My NuddypantsDivorce PoisonDoing ItDone With The CryingEcstasyEmotional ClaustrophobiaEmotional Fitness for IntimacyEmotional Intelligence at WorkEntwined LivesErotic PassionsEssentials of Premarital CounselingEvery Pot Has a CoverFacts About ADHD ChildrenFamilies Like MineFamilyFamily BoundFamily FirstFear of IntimacyFinal JeopardyFind MeFlashpointFor Lesbian ParentsForgive Your Parents, Heal YourselfGandhi's WayGeorgia Under WaterGetting over Getting MadGetting the Love You WantGetting the Love You Want Audio CompanionGirl in the MirrorGirl StuffGoing Home without Going CrazyHandbook of AttachmentHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHappiness Sold SeparatelyHard to GetHe's Just Not That Into YouHealing ConversationsHollow KidsHot ButtonsHot Chocolate for the Mystical LoverHow Families Still MatterHow to Create Chemistry with AnyoneHow to Give Her Absolute PleasureHow to Handle a Hard-To-Handle KidHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tI am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!I Don't Know How She Does ItI Hate You-Don't Leave MeI Only Say This Because I Love YouI'm OK, You're My ParentsIn the Mood, AgainInside the American CoupleIntrusive ParentingIt's Called a Breakup Because It's BrokenIt's Love We Don't UnderstandJakarta MissingKeeping Passion AliveKeeping Your Child in MindLet's Get This StraightLiberation's ChildrenLife's WorkLikely to DieLove JunkieLove SickLove Times ThreeLove Works Like ThisLoving Someone With Bipolar DisorderLoving Someone with Borderline Personality DisorderLust in TranslationMaking the RunMaking the RunManic DepressionMars and Venus - Starting Over.Mating in CaptivityMom, Dad, I'm Gay.MotherstylesMurder in the InnMysterious CreaturesNecessary NoiseOdd Girl OutOpenOpening to Love 365 Days a YearOphelia's MomOrgasmsOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the DustOvercoming Your Difficult FamilyParenting and the Child's WorldParenting on the GoParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerParents and Digital TechnologyParents Do Make a DifferencePassionate MarriagePlanet JanetPreventing Misbehavior in ChildrenProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Raising AmericaRaising ElijahRaising Kids in an Age of TerrorRaising Kids in the 21st CenturyRaising Resilient ChildrenRay's a LaughRelationship RescueRelax, It's Just SexRespect-Me RulesRomantic IntelligenceRoom For JSecrets of a Passionate MarriageSelf-NurtureSelfish, Shallow, and Self-AbsorbedSex Addiction: The Partner's PerspectiveShidduch CrisisSickenedSingleSlut!Socrates in LoveSomeone Like YouSong for EloiseSpecial SiblingsSpiritually Healing the Indigo Children (and Adult Indigos, Too!)Staying Connected to Your TeenagerStaying Sane When Your Family Comes to VisitStop Arguing with Your KidsStop SignsStop Walking on EggshellsStop Walking on EggshellsStrong, Smart, & BoldSummer of the SkunksSurviving a Borderline ParentTaking Charge of AngerTelling SecretsThank You for Being Such a PainThe Anti-Romantic ChildThe AwakeningThe Bastard on the Couch CDThe Birth of PleasureThe Brief Couples Therapy Homework Planner with DiskThe Bully Action GuideThe Burden of SympathyThe Commercialization of Intimate LifeThe CorrectionsThe Couples Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe DisappearanceThe Dream BearerThe Educated ParentThe Emotional RevolutionThe Employee Assistance Treatment PlannerThe EpidemicThe Ethics of ParenthoodThe Ethics of the FamilyThe Gay Baby BoomThe Good DivorceThe Guide for International Intercultural Couples and Families Intercultural MarriageThe Healing Journey for CouplesThe Hostile HospitalThe Husbands and Wives ClubThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Introvert AdvantageThe Little FriendThe Love HexagonThe Moral Intelligence of ChildrenThe Neuroscience of Human RelationshipsThe New I DoThe Normal OneThe Nurture AssumptionThe OASIS Guide to Asperger SyndromeThe Other ParentThe Philosophical ParentThe Psychology of Parental ControlThe Real Rules for GirlsThe Reflective ParentThe Right to Be ParentsThe Secret Lives of WivesThe Spider and the BeeThe State of AffairsThe StepsThe Story of My FatherThe Velveteen FatherThe Virgin BlueThe Visitation HandbookThe Whole ChildTo Have and To Hurt:Two Is EnoughUnderstanding MarriageUnderstanding the Borderline MotherUnhitchedUntrue Up in FlamesWe've Got IssuesWhat about the KidsWhat Goes UpWhat Is Secular Humanism?What It Means to Love YouWhat Our Children Teach UsWhen a Parent is DepressedWhen Mars Women DateWhen Someone You Love Is BipolarWhen Someone You Love Is DepressedWhy Are You So Sad?Will You, Won't You?WomanWorking With Emotional IntelligenceWorried All the TimeYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!
When thinking of descriptors or key concepts related to psychoanalysis, I suspect one seldom thinks of love. My guess is that sex, aggression or even hate and envy are more likely to register, these being the emotions most ubiquitous in psychoanalytic writing. However, as infant research has grown more sophisticated and developmental research has given us an increasingly more accurate picture of the impact of care giver on both physical and mental health, something like love is stirring among psychoanalytic circles. Elisabeth Young-Bruehl and Faith Bethelards book Cherishment: A Psychology of The Heart reflects just such a trend.
The book is an attempt to redefine psychoanalytic developmental theory through the lens of the eastern notion of "cherishment," or the expectation to be loved. This eastern construct, according to the authors, has been an accepted part of Japanese child rearing (the Japanese word being amae), at least until recent incursions of western technique. This technique involves nourishment or respect for dependence, meeting the needs of the infant so that he can "grow without needing or asking help." The authors illustrate the nature of cherishment by describing a Japanese girl's realization that, despite the difficulty her diminutive grandmother had in continuing to carry the girl on her back, the grandmother continues until the child decides to carry herself. Patients in psychoanalysis, according to the authors, are often people who were never given such unconditional care and, as a result, seek such contact in treatment. Young-Bruehl and Bethelard cite Takeo Doi, a Japanese psychoanalyst and practitioner of Amae Psychology, as an early pioneer of the use of this notion with patients.
In the beginning of the text, the authors trace connections between psychoanalytic constructs that come close to describing amae, namely Ferenzi's "passive object love" and Michael Balint's notion of the basic fault. The authors then carefully compare and contrast Freudian theory, moving chapter by chapter throughout the lifespan. At each stage, the authors illuminate the need for dependence and argue how western culture's insistence on independence creates complications in development. Young-Bruehl and Bethelard pull liberally from their practices, using examples of clients in there care to stress how lack of "cherishment" has derailed their lives and how its use in a clinical context is necessary for change.
I suspect that psychoanalytic practitioners (the assumed target audience) of many stripes will have trouble with the central concepts of the text. Those who favor the reduction of conflict or a move towards greater autonomy as central to mental health will be off put by the emphasis on passivity. Furthermore, suggestions of needing to directly meet the needs of patients will horrify those practitioners and theorists who insist that the therapist maintain neutrality or distance from client needs. There is certainly an at least implicit suggestion that some level of emotional gratification is necessary for the patent to "get better." Such a suggestion is anathema to old guard psychoanalytic thinkers, smacking of Carl Rogers like blasphemy, and might also be heralded as one more post-modern attempt to water down tried and true psychoanalytic insights in favor of touchy feely, pop psychology. This is, ultimately, for the reader to decide.
There is much to recommend in this text. For example, the book is written in an interesting style. While many texts on development and psychotherapy are dry and jargonistic (psychoanalytic books being the worst offenders), this book is composed with a highly informal (no footnotes or references), conversational style that unfolds much like a novel. The reader is allowed a front row seat in the minds of the writers as they struggle with and grow from the very book they are writing. There is a level of tension, much like a mystery novel or thriller, that is created and sustained as the book's conversational style draws the reader in. All these literary devices would seem superficial or clichéd to the serious reader if not for the authors' obvious clinical competence and theoretical knowledge. Despite straying from standard scholarly text, this is not a superficial book. Above all, the book will move the non-professional to reconsider accepted negative notions of dependency and the psychotherapist to reconsider intervention in light of the need for dependent connection.
Dan L. Rose, Psy.D. is a Clinical Psychologist involved in direct clinical work and training at Columbus State University and in private practice. His interests include psychoanalysis, neuroscience, religion and literature.
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