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Psychotherapy (Chic). 2009 Mar;46(1):139-44. doi: 10.1037/a0015154.

Review of Polarities of experience: Relatedness and self-definition in personality development, psychopathology, and the therapeutic process and Relatedness, self-definition and mental representation: Essays in honor of Sidney J. Blatt.

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1
University of California San Francisco, School of Medicine.

Abstract

Reviews the books, Polarities of experience: Relatedness and self-definition in personality development, psychopathology, and the therapeutic process by Sidney J. Blatt (see record 2008-01813-000) and Relatedness, self-definition and mental representation: Essays in honor of Sidney J. Blatt edited by John S. Auerbach, Kenneth N. Levy, and Carrie E. Schaffer (2005). These two volumes present a most impressive and fitting capstone to Sidney Blatt's very productive lifetime of almost unmatched threefold integration of (a) clinical experience, beginning with his astute observation of the strikingly different thematic preoccupations of two otherwise very similarly depressed patients whom Blatt was analyzing during his psychoanalytic training; (b) the theoretic conceptualization stemming from these clinical observations, which became the basic fabric of his lifetime major addition to our psychological explanatory universe; and (c) the painstaking systematic empirical data gathering, together with the creation of necessary-and truly appropriate-measures and instruments that, in ensemble, provide such strong data-based support for Blatt's clinically inspired theoretic harvesting. In the book Polarities of experience: Relatedness and self-definition in personality development, psychopathology, and the therapeutic process, Blatt draws upon a vast literature review of his own work with his collaborating authors-as well as a seemingly exhaustive list of contributors in all the linked and related areas. Blatt has organized his volume sequentially (after defining and describing his fundamental polarity of experience) into three logically following sections on personality development, personality organization and psychopathology, and lastly, the therapeutic process. Relatedness, self-definition and mental representation: Essays in honor of Sidney J. Blatt is put together by three of Blatt's former students, and now collaborating partners, although published 3 years earlier (2005), is best read as a supplement to, and a complement of, Blatt's own account. There are 18 chapters, about half of them by Blatt's former students who became working colleagues, and they are all well represented in Blatt's own volume as well as having ample references to papers by, and with, Blatt in their own chapters here (anywhere from a dozen references to their work together, and on up, per chapter). The other half are by eminent colleagues, at Yale University and elsewhere, contemporaries of Blatt, with shared or related interests, and some of their chapters are based on that shared interest, though usually approached from a differing perspective, and some are expositions of their own work, with only tangentially shared themes. This half is a set of most distinguished psychological colleagues, all joined in paying tribute to their admired colleague. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).

PMID:
22122576
DOI:
10.1037/a0015154

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