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Hysteria [Paperback]

Christopher Bollas

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Book Description

18 Nov 1999 0415220335 978-0415220330 First Edition
Hysteria has disappeared from contemporary culture only insofar as it has been subjected to a repression through the popular diagnosis of 'borderline personality disorder'.
In Hysteria the distinguished psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas offers an original and illuminating theory of hysteria that weaves its well-known features - repressed sexual ideas; indifference to conversion; over-identification with the other - into the hysteric form.
Through a rereading of Freud, Bollas argues that sexuality in itself is traumatic to all children, as it 'destroys' the relation to the mother, transfiguring her from 'mamma', the infant's caregiver, to 'mother', the child's and father's sex object. For the hysteric this recognition is endlessly traumatic and the hysterical personality forms itself into an organised opposition to this knowledge.
True to his earlier writings, Bollas' vision is thought provoking and mind expanding. Hysteria brings new perspectives to long-standing ideas, making enlightening reading for students and professionals involved in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy alike, as well as the lay reader who takes an interest in the formation of personality in western culture.

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Review

"Bollas draws on decades of clinical experience in Hysteria, and excites the imagination ... His blend of theoretical speculation and clinical material is heady stuff."-Adam Jukes, Saturday Guardian "Not only does he give (presumably) verbatim passages from patients, but he evokes the thinking-feeling states of hysteria and sketches, skillfully and credibly, the developmental issues and unconscious conflicts involved.."-Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Vol. 37, No. 2, Dominick Grundy

About the Author

Christopher Bollas is a psychoanalyst in private practice in London. He is the author of The Shadow of the Object (1987), Being a Character (1992), Cracking Up (1995), The New Informants (with David Sundelson) (1995), and The Mystery of Things (1999).

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Psychoanalytical case studies are for the most part discussions of human character and as we enter the new millennium the professional journals contain thousands of individuals described as suffering from one character disorder or another. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If a hysteric patient is leaving you muddled.. 10 May 2001
By "cleopatravictoria" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the book to consult. rich, complex. and best savored in small, delicate bites, Bollas offers some insights about hysterics you simply won't find anywhere else. For example, he delineates the intricacies of exactly why the hysteric tries to find him-herself in the desire of the other. Bollas also explains why the hysteric eschews the physical and the sexual( the mother denied the infant's body). Further, Bollas makes such lucid sense of the hysteric's array of physical maladies. (She is offering her body to medical professionals to care for, attend, touch, and love, the way her mother never did.)
If after much clinical reading on the topic of hysteria, you are still feeling as if the fragments don't solidify into some concrete theory of your patient's psychic structure, this book will provide you with imaginative possibilities, many you probably have not conceived of before.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! 13 Dec 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Goodness! Reading this book, I can't help but wonder how we've gotten along without it for so long, or for as long as hysteria as a working clinical-theoretical construct has been banished from our vernacular. Bollas depicts with great creativity and clarity just what hysteria is, and gives us a working sense of how to differentiate it from other psychic structures, especially the borderline, with which it has most commonly been misunderstood. True to classical and object relations thinking, the author also extends our understanding of this most complex patient. His differential descriptions of various structures is done through not only what the patient struggles with, but also how both the transference and the countertransference vary. A must-read! for any psychotherapist serious about working the depths of our patients.
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