Psychoanalytic Diagnosis: Understanding Personality Structure in the Clinical Process

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Guilford Press, 1994 - Psychology - 398 pages
15 Reviews
This is the first text to come along in many years that makes psychoanalytic personality theory and its implications for practice accessible to beginning practitioners. The last book of its kind, which was published more than 20 years ago, predated the development of such significant concepts as borderline syndromes, narcissistic pathology, dissociative disorders and self-defeating personality.
Contemporary students often react with bewilderment to the language of pioneering analysts like Reich and Fenichel and, since 1980, the various volumes of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) have reflected an empirical-descriptive orientation that deliberately eschews psychodynamic assumptions. Consequently, today's therapist in training may have little exposure to the rich clinical and theoretical history behind each disorder mentioned in DSM; to psychoanalytic expertise with widely recognized character patterns not mentioned in DSM, such as depressive and hypomanic psychologies, high-functioning schizoid personalities, and hysterical personalities; or to a comprehensive, theoretically sophisticated rationale that links assessment to treatment.
Filling the need for a text that clearly lays out the conceptual heritage that psychoanalytic practitioners take for granted, this important new volume explicates the major clinically important character types and suggests how an appreciation of the patients' individual personality structure should influence the therapist's focus and style of intervention. Dispensing with the dense jargon that often discourages people from learning, Nancy McWilliams writes in a lucid, personal manner that demystifies psychodynamic theory and practice. Innumerable clinical vignettes are presented with humor, candor, and compassion, bringing abstract concepts to life.
Comprehensive in scope,Psychoanalytic Diagnosiswill be valued by seasoned clinicians and students alike. Psychodynamically oriented readers will find it an excellent introduction to psychoanalytic diagnostic thinking. For those identified with other approaches, it will foster psychoanalytic literacy, providing them with the capacity to better understand the approaches of their analytically oriented colleagues.

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Review: Psychoanalytic Diagnosis: Understanding Personality Structure in the Clinical Process

User Review  - Jon Frederickson - Goodreads

In an era devoted to phenomenological diagnosis (listing observable symptoms), how refreshing it is to find a book like this which helps to explain what actually causes those symptoms so you know what ... Read full review

Review: Psychoanalytic Diagnosis: Understanding Personality Structure in the Clinical Process

User Review  - Melanie Kirdasi - Goodreads

I had ordered this book to write a paper for a class but the book never arrived, luckily I came across the book several months later in the school library. Though it appears studious it is not a dry ... Read full review

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About the author (1994)

Nancy McWilliams, PhD, ABPP, teaches psychoanalytic theory and therapy at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers--The State University of New Jersey. A senior analyst with the Institute for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy of New Jersey and the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis, she has a private practice in psychodynamic therapy and supervision in Flemington, New Jersey. Her previous book, Psychoanalytic Diagnosis has become a standard text in many training programs for psychoanalysts, both in the United States and abroad. She has also authored articles and book chapters on personality, psychotherapy, psychodiagnosis, sexuality, feminism, and contemporary psychopathologies.

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