Book Review

Juan Manzano, Francisco Palacio Espasa, Adela Abella: Précis de technique psychanalytique avec son application à la psycho­thérapie

Publication Date: 17.05.2017
Swiss Arch Neurol Psychiatr Psychother. 2017;168(04):125

Thomas von Salis

Please find the affiliations for this article in the PDF.

Juan Manzano, Francisco Palacio Espasa, Adela Abella

Précis de technique psychanalytique avec son application à la psycho­thérapie

Paris: Puf; 2016. Reihe: Le fil rouge.

Psychanalyse et psychiatrie de l’enfant.

Kartoniert, 216 Seiten; 22 cm.

Preis Euro 25,00. ISBN 978-2-13-073645-5.


This is my third book review of the work of the Geneva School of psychoanalysis and ­psychiatry of adults and children1 for this journal; I have done it in English because ­doctors in the four language regions of Switzerland often like to use it as “lingua franca”.

I attach special importance to the “Geneva School” because of its openness to different approaches in psychiatry and child psychiatry and because of the scholarship and ­prac­tical and institutional anchorage of their discourse.

Their newest publication is this “Précis de technique”, a small book, but sort of a summary of their research and practice. The editors of “Le fil rouge” are the prestigious French psychiatrists Diatkine, Golse and Jeammet.

The authors choose the form of a concise and rather short handbook in which they teach the essentials of the most important currents of psychoanalysis and the practical use of these theoretical issues for application in ­psychiatric therapy. It is certainly meant to present the material in an easily understandable way, but while reading I thought it might not be so easy for colleagues who are not trained in psycho­analysis. The old dilemma Freud ­addressed so many times persists: psychoanalytic science is never accepted without con­siderable resistance, because nobody can ­easily change his neurotically fixated attitudes. Very often, the motive for doing this is personal suffering; but equally important are concern for patients, and scientific curiosity with the aim of understanding human ­suffering.

The “Précis” is organized in two parts: The first a thorough but short discussion of the dif­ferent psychoanalytic schools of thought and the resulting practical procedure in the psychoanalytic cure. The second part aims to ­apply the conceptual and referential operational scheme to the practice in cases which either are not suited to the classical psycho­analytic setting or do not permit its application for external reasons.

Each of the two parts is subdivided into six chapters: the frame or setting, transference, counter-transference, interpretation, construction, and the process and its con­clusion. There is an appendix about the ­analysts’ theoretical choices. Lastly, of course, there is a bibliography illustrating everything in the book; it’s a sort of who is whoof con­temporary psychoanalysis.

The authors do not conceal their theoretical preference, but they succeed in fairly presenting the different schools so that the reader doesn’t feel bad if he does not exactly subscribe to the authors’ preference.

This book was a treat for me and will be, I hope, for many other colleagues as well. I am hopeful that there will be some readers who will be more convinced of the usefulness of psychoanalytic thinking for psychiatric practice.

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