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“Inter Views: Conversations on Psychotherapy, Biography, Love, Soul, Dreams, Work, Imagination, and the State of the Culture”
by James Hillman with Laura Pozzo (Harper Colophon)
“Playing Ball on Running Water”
by David K. Reynolds (Quill)

"A Secret Symmetry"
Aldo Carotenuto (Pantheon)
"Tribute to Freud"
by H. D. (Hilda Doolittle) (New Directions)
"Jacques Lacan: The Death of an Intellectual Hero"
by Stuart Schneiderman (Harvard)
“Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia”
by Felix Guattari (University of Minnesota)
“Molecular Revolution: Psychiatry and Politics”
by Felix Guattari (Peregrine)

Review by John Gabree

These volumes present contrasting approaches to psychotherapy. One proposes to change our thinking by changing the way we act. The other presumes to change the way we act by changing our thinking.

James Hillman, author of "The Myth of Analysis" and "Re-Visioning Psychology” among other works, is a practicing therapist who (like R. D. Laing, Thomas Szasz, Jacques Lacan and Freud himself) is also a fascinating writer. His works deserve a following beyond their present cultist boundaries.

“Inter Views,” a distillation of his ideas expressed in a series of discussions with Italian journalist Laura Pozzo, seems destined to attract a wider audience. Beginning with the question of what makes a psychologically creative person, Hillman arrives at the idea that archetypical images are the currency of the mind. "We are the psyche. The soul wants imaginative responses that move it, delight it, deepen it…”

Nearly every paragraph of “Inter Views” can be mined for insights into religion, dreams, gender, creativity, the art of writing, work, love, sex. Here Hillman appeals to history (and to the archetypical images we discover there) for perspective on the present. He decries the modern world's specialization in employment because, held rigid to one activity all day, he says we are not fully working, not employing our fullness.

The interview format allows us to full Hillman's mind as it functions, instead of being presented with the final product of that process of thinking, as we are with his formal works. To read "Inter Views” is to embark on a stimulating intellectual adventure.

In “Playing Ball on Running Water," David K. Reynolds introduces the Zen-influenced Japanese therapy named after its founder, Dr. Shoma Morita. According to Reynolds, the emphasis of Morita psychotherapy is on action. Typical neurotic symptoms such as procrastination, feelings of inferiority, shyness, nervousness, loneliness and so on, are simply interrupted, brought to an end, instead of having time spent concentrating on the underlying causes of the symptoms, as in traditional psychotherapy.

It is not that Morita therapists disdain introspection -- to the contrary, in many cases they prescribe meditative techniques -- but like many New Age therapists, they place the emphasis on results. There is an appealing simplicity to the Moritist approach, but Reynolds’ writing lacks the excitement, the sense of danger that is communicated by Hillman's intellectual knife-throwing act.

One need not worship at the altar of psychoanalysis to honor a reprint of "Tribute to Freud" (New Directions) written in the 1950s by the late American poet H. D. (Hilda Doolittle). The book is a subtle profile of Freud-the-man and a revealing diary of the psychoanalytic process at work. Doolittle worked with Freud in 1933-34. The old man who emerges in these pages is as graceful and generous as he is insightful and uncompromising.

The story of another famous analysand is told by Aldo Carotenuto in "A Secret Symmetry" (Pantheon). Sabina Spielrein was Jung’s patient (they also fell in love), Freud’s colleague, and eventually a psychiatrist in her own right. In fact, as Bruno Bettelheim asserts in his introduction to the volume, she was one of the great pioneers of psychoanalysis. Apparently, Spielrein not only influenced Freud’s thinking in its maturity but Jung's in its infancy.

Carotenuto, an Italian psychologist, reprints Spielrein’s diary and her letters to the two doctors, as well as Freud’s replies (Jung’s letters are still held by his estate), and supplies a biographical essay on Spielrein.

The controversial French analyst Jacques Lacan is ably profiled in "Jacques Lacan: The Death of an Intellectual Hero" (Harvard) by American Lacanian analyst Stuart Schneiderman. Since Lacan’s writings are even more impenetrable then the usual run of French philosophizing, it is useful to have an appreciation composed in English, even one as oddly written as this (Schneiderman’s style is so dense it almost might be a translation). Lacan was a painful thorn in the side of Freudian orthodoxy, especially in his radical attempt to sever psychoanalysis from medicine.

Felix Guattari, a French Lacanian psychiatrist, is best known in this country for “Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia” (University of Minnesota), written with philosopher Gilles Deleuze. Beginning with Lacan’s writings on desire, they launch an inspired, not to say lunatic, assault on the reliance of traditional therapeutic approaches on reactive and reactionary (i.e., neurotic) practices. Their long, difficult and invigorating book (given a brilliant translation by Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen R. Lane) can be seen, as Michel Foucault asserts in his foreword, as much as a goad to practical action as a guide to original thought.

Guattari’s more accessible “Molecular Revolution: Psychiatry and Politics” (Peregrine) offers 20-odd essays on political issues holding the attention of European intellectuals, especially of the left, cross-pollinating philosophy, political science, psychology, linguistics and sociology. Guattari’s main concern is with establishing a continuum between theory, practice and militant action (the ‘60s aren't entirely dead, at least in France). Lest all this sound fatally murky and Gallic, it is helpful to remember that Guattari is building on the insights of R.D. Laing and company in their work with schizophrenics.

Washington Square Press has released uniform editions (uniformly ugly, I’m afraid) of Victor E. Frankl’s writings on psychiatry: “Man’s Search for Meaning,” “The Unheard Cry for Meaning,” “The Unconscious God” and “Psychotherapy and Existentialism.” Although Alexander Lowen’s study of “Narcissism” (Collier) is undeniably a classic, his appeal for the primacy of feelings has an anachronistic ring. “Jungian Analysis” (Shambala/New Science Library), edited by Murray Stein, is a thorough, up-to-date, but unnecessarily academic collection of essays by American followers of Freud’s wayward son (as is too often the case with Jungian writing, the content is hypnotizing while the form is sedative). And just in case you think the human potential types have been dozing: “Stress Breakers” (CompCare Publications) by Helene Lerner with Roberta Elins offers dozens of stress-releasing techniques cheerfully gathered into such categories as Anger Absorbers, Tension Tamers, and Pleasurizers. (1984)

These book are available through Amazon:
Inter Views by James Hillman with Laura Pozzo
Playing Ball on Running Water by David K. Reynolds
Tribute to Freud by H.D.
A Secret Symmetry by Aldo Carotenuto
Jacques Lacan by Stuart Schneiderman
Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia by Felix Guattari
Molecular Revolution: Psychiatry and Politics by Felix Guattari


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