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Psychoanalytic Diagnosis: Understanding Personality Structure in the Clinical Process [Hardcover]

Nancy McWilliams

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Psychoanalytic Diagnosis: Understanding Personality Structure in the Clinical Process Psychoanalytic Diagnosis: Understanding Personality Structure in the Clinical Process 5.0 out of 5 stars (4)
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Book Description

7 July 1994 0898621992 978-0898621990
An excellent introduction for students of psychoanalytic diagnostic thinking, this book clearly explicates the major clinically important character types and suggests how an appreciation of the patients's individual personality structure should influence the therapist's focus and style of intervention. Eschewing the dense jargon that often discourages beginning therapists, the book is engagingly written and includes numerous vignettes that bring concepts to life. Psychoanalytic Diagnosis will be of interest to psychotherapists, psychologists, and clinical therapists. It is ideal for beginning therapists and students of psychotherapy and psychology.

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"Books by Nancy McWilliams used in unison make the best psychodynamic resources I have yet encountered in more than 60 years in the field."--Robert C. Lane, PhD, Department of Psychology, Nova Southeastern University "The aim of Nancy McWilliams's excellent (and I believe essential) book is twofold: first, to present a psychoanalytically oriented view of individual differences in personality structure and then, secondly, to show how these differences can be clinically and therapeutically useful....Stylistically, the writing is clear and simple and jargon is, for the most part, avoided. The case examples and anecdotes, especially those illustrating the different personality types, are well-chosen and illuminating." --Scott Miller, Ph.D. in "New Jersey Psychologist " "A successful attempt to bring together the many strands of contemporary psychoanalytic investigation of the nature and psychotherapeutic treatment of character pathology. Readable and informative, this book moves easily from one theoretical frame to another according to the usefulness of each frame for understanding a specific aspect of the character pathology....The result is a book that should be helpful to the psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapist of personality disorders as well as to the clinician in carrying out the differential diagnosis of these conditions....The thoughtful references, at crucial points, to literature that permits the reader to deepen his or her understanding in this field enriches and broadens the perspective opened by this excellent primer." --Otto F. Kernberg, M.D. "Comprehensible and readable--lends itself to graduate studies." --Cathleen Adams, Ph.D., New School for Social Research, Graduate Psychology "This is a clear, superbly written text. The author consistently develops the treatment implications of diagnostic statements." --Virginia Brabender, Ph.D., ABPP-Cl "This book is so well written, and with such subtlety, sensitivity, and

About the Author

Nancy McWilliams, PhD, 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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For many people, including some therapists, diagnosis is a dirty word. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exceptionally useful 24 Mar 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Psychoanalytic Diagnosis is one of my favorite books. In a very thorough and systematic way, Nancy McWilliams provides the reader with insights on several forms of character pathology - and does so from each of the four major schools of analytic thought (classical drive, ego, object relational, and self psychological perspectives). Typical countertransferential pulls and helpful guidelines for the conduct of therapy with each of the character types is also included. This is a great book, and I return to it often in my own clinical work.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank You Nancy McWilliams! 26 Feb 2004
By Michael Z. Jody - Published on
This book is without a doubt the finest psychoanalytic text I have come across. If you desire only one psychoanalytic work in your library, make it this one. Ms. McWilliam's book is beautifully and clearly written, intelligent, informative, and affords both a useful overview of most concepts that any practitioner (or interested layperson) might need, AND the history and development of whatever she discusses. She is smart, does not take herself or the field too seriously, and explains things better than nearly anyone else writing in the field. BUY THIS BOOK!
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The lost art in therapy 13 Aug 2000
By A Customer - Published on
This book is clear, concise, and extremely well written. It gives an excellent overview of all of the psychoanalytic theories, development, and defenses which lays a solid foundation for the different types of personalities. Most importantly she gives a clear understanding of how an individuals personality structure should inform the therapist's focus and intervention. This is an excellent book!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clarity, practicality, humor and heart 3 Oct 1999
By A Customer - Published on
I've been in psychotherapeutic training for several years now and this is perhaps my favorite book. Dr. McWilliams has brought together both useful information and a sense of the humanity of patients in a book that provides an orientation for work as well as some quite practical do's and don't. I recognized myself in her descriptions, but benefitted from her compassion at the same time. It is a "primer" but it holds wisdom that I return to time and again.
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AN Important Addition To The Psychological Literature 2 Aug 2001
By disco75 - Published on
This book offers a welcome and much needed alternative to the dogma-bound DSM used in psychiatry and psychology. It gives a theory-driven alternative that is elegant and can be applied to virtually any of the interpersonal and emotional problems mental health practitioners treat. McWilliams' use of a continuum of characterology, ranging from flexible to symptomatic to persistent to severe makes intuitive sense. The categories she describes will be familiar to anyone with a clinical background and again are resonant with common experience.
Two concerns: her use of "Borderline" is inconsistent throughout the book, used at times to denote a range between neurotic and psychotic and other times as a type, as in BPD. She inaccurately claims that the DSM uses BPD as a degree rather than type, when in fact it one of the several "clusters" of personality disorders, each distinct in presentation. My suggestion is to go with her psychological approach and eliminate the vague word "Borderline" altogether. Replace it with characterological and take Vaillant's advice to forget the "kitchen sink" BPD.
The other concern regards the Dissociative type of pathology. McWilliams ignores her own elegant heuristic when presenting these difficulties. She loses track of the neurotic-characterological-psychotic spectrum in which this type of pathology can present. A close reading of this section of the book suggests revisions for the next edition, which I hope will be forthcoming, as this is a wonderful text to use with students learning about so-called abnormal psychology.
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