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Textbook of Psychoanalysis, Second Edition
Authors: Glen O. Gabbard, M.D., Bonnie E. Litowitz, Ph.D. and Paul Williams, Ph.D.
ISBN 13:
American Psychiatric Publishing
List Price: $125 Member Price $100  Member in Training $93.75  620 Pages  Hard Cover 
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   MedicalScienceBooks.com Medical Book Review:

     Psychoanalysis enjoys a rich history of development beginning with the original descriptions of Sigmund Freud and numerous refinements over the ensuing decades of the 20th century.  No single volume could begin to delve into that history with any success and thus editorial teams must struggle with what they feel is most appropriate for their publication.  In Textbook of Psychoanalysis 2nd Edition the editorial team of Gabbard et al. made the decision to slightly narrow the focus from which the first edition was written and concentrate more on the early American tradition of psychoanalytic theory.  By doing so they necessarily limited the stream of viewpoints on which psychoanalysis is built, but more importantly they allowed for a more cohesive work to take shape.  This is not to say that major influences from other continents are completely omitted.  On the contrary, they are well represented when doing so is imperative for understanding a concept.

     A simple glance at the table of contents will give the reader a quick sense of just how pervasive psychoanalytic theory is in popular culture.  There is an entire series of chapters outlining how psychoanalysis informs creative outlets such as film and music.  These are important applications of the ideas behind, for example, how a musician or actor develops.  Through this we get a sense of the myriad ways in which psychoanalysis can be “used” outside of the clinic. This can be considered one of the overriding themes of the book beyond the thorough introduction to the “core concepts” given in the first several chapters.  

     In terms of the basics of psychoanalytic theory, there is a particularly effective chapter on the theory of motivations.  The author of this chapter did an excellent job in separating out the competing influences on motivation and discussing conflicts between motivations.  This is truly a foundational chapter, which if done poorly would certainly have left many readers unsure of how concepts fit together in discussions with more complex overtones. 

     The text is extremely student friendly with several features that the novice interested in learning about psychoanalysis will find essential.  First, the editors and contributing authors have written well thought out and organized chapters with nearly every paragraph highlighted by a title.  Additionally, whenever a particular interpretation or viewpoint by a psychologist or proponent is discussed, their name appears above the paragraph.  This may seem commonplace but the nature of this material can easily confuse the student and leave them wondering to whom to attribute certain contributions.  Also useful in this regard are the key concepts boxes at the end of the chapters which make for a concise summary of the chapter.  Finally, there is a glossary of terms at the end of the book which many readers will find quite useful as they navigate the psychoanalytic literature.

     This is a solid introduction to psychoanalysis which contains all the appropriate elements for building the appropriate knowledge base for further exploration of the literature.  Textbook of Psychoanalysis 2nd Edition should thus be read widely by those interested not only in psychoanalysis specifically, but those  involved in psychology, sociology and cultural studies. 

Ratings (1-10 , 10 being the highest):

Overall Rating:


Author’s objectives met:



Organization of information: 9
Significant number of illustrations: 1
Suitable for intended audience: 10
Overall presentation: 8
Quality of illustrations: na
Usefulness of book:   9
Value: 9
Writing style: 9


The second edition of this groundbreaking text represents a complete departure from the structure and format of its predecessor. Though still exhaustive in scope and designed to provide a knowledge base for a broad audience—from the beginning student to the seasoned analyst or academician—this revision emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of psychoanalytic thought and boldly focuses on current American psychoanalysis in all its conceptual and clinical diversity. This approach reflects the perspective of the two new co-editors, whose backgrounds in linguistics and social anthropology inform and enrich their clinical practice, and the six new section editors, who themselves reflect the diversity of backgrounds and thinking in contemporary American psychoanalysis.

The book begins with Freud and his circle, and the origins of psychoanalysis, and goes on to explore its development in the post-Freud era. This general introduction orients the reader and helps to contextualize the six sections that follow.

  • The most important tenets of psychoanalysis are defined and described in the “Core Concepts” section, including theories of motivation, unconscious processes, transference and countertransference, defense and resistance, and gender and sexuality). These eight chapters constitute an excellent introduction to the field of psychoanalysis.
  • The “Schools of Thought” section features chapters on the most influential theories—from object relations to self psychology, to attachment theory and relational psychoanalysis, and includes the contributions of Klein and Bion and of Lacan.
  • Rather than making developmental theory a separate section, as in the last edition, developmental themes now permeate the “Schools of Thought” section and illuminate other theories and topics throughout the edition.
  • Taking a more clinical turn, the “Treatment and Technique” section addresses critical subjects such as transference and countertransference; theories of therapeutic action; process, interpretation, and resistance, termination and reanalysis; combined psychoanalysis and psychopharmacotherapy, child analysis, ethics, and the relationship between psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy.
  • A substantive, utterly current, and meticulously referenced section on “Research” provides an in-depth discussion of outcome, process, and developmental research.
  • The section entitled “Psychoanalysis and Other Disciplines” takes the reader on a fascinating tour through the many fields that psychoanalysis has enriched and been enriched by, including the neurosciences, philosophy, anthropology, race/ethnicity, literature, visual arts, film, and music.
  • A comprehensive Glossary completes this indispensable text.

The Textbook of Psychoanalysis is the only comprehensive textbook of psychoanalysis available in the United States. This masterful revision will both instruct and engage those who are learning psychoanalysis, those who practice it, and those who apply its theories to related disciplines. Though always controversial, this model of the human psyche still provides the best and most comprehensive insight into human nature.

Table of Contents:


Section I: General Introduction.

Freud and his circle.

Psychoanalysis in North America after Freud.

Section II: Core Concepts.

Theories of motivation.

Unconscious processes.


Countertransference: an instrument of the analysis.

Defense and resistance.


Childhood experiences and the adult world.

Gender and sexuality.

Section III: Schools of Thought.

Classical psychoanalysis: past and present.

Object relations.

Klein and Bion.

Self psychology.

Relational psychoanalysis.

Jacques Lacan.

Infant research and adult psychotherapy.

Section IV: Treatment and Technique.

Transference, countertransference, and the real theories of therapeutic action and their clinical consequences.

Process, resistance, and interpretation.

Termination and reanalysis.

Combining psychoanalysis and psychopharmacology: theory and technique.

Technique in child analysis.

Ethics in psychoanalysis.

Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy: historical development and present relationship.

Section V: Research.

Research on outcomes of psychoanalysis and psychoanalysis-derived psychotherapies.

Psychoanalytic process research.

Developmental research.

Section VI: Psychoanalysis and Other Disciplines.

Psychoanalysis and the neurosciences.

Psychoanalysis and philosophy.

Psychoanalysis and anthropology.

Race, ethnicity, and nationality.

Psychoanalysis and literature.

Psychoanalysis and the visual arts.

Psychoanalysis and film.

Psychoanalysis and music.



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