Although I would not recommend reading this book without having read a little about Freud's theories elsewhere, this is an excellent revision tool for any counselling/psychotherapy student. As with all the books in Icon's "Introducing" series, the book is concise and really brings the subject alive with lots of well-drawn (and often humorous) illustrations which lodge in the memory much better than an overwhelming mass of text. The amount of information contained in this little book is surprisingly large and you will find yourself whipping through the whole in a matter of hours. A quick flip through takes minutes and will give a useful recap. Some of the theories are not terribly well explained, but overall this is a very good introduction. If you just have a casual interest in Freud, there is no resource more enjoyable.
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This is a great source for anyone who is unacquainted with Freud and a great summary and synopsis perhaps for anyone who has already got some acquaintance or familiarity with Freud and the history of psychoanalysis.
I was surprised at how easy it is to read, I have a real interest in the subject matter but I think even without that driving interest there is a good style and pace in the content,the illustrations packed to a page and dividing up of the text is all handled really well. Another reviewer has suggested that this would be a great revision guide and I think that is correct. However, the core material is summarized well too in text, sometimes like an "end note" comprising a page at the end of a series of illustrated pages.
There is content here which is adult orientated but then the sexual stages of development formulated by Freud etc. are adult, the illustrations are not crass or lewd but reproductions of paintings and figure sketches, some of which feature genitalia or which are erotic in nature.
I have to say that having read a number of introductions to both Freud and Jung, written by Anthony Storr and Anthony Stevens and others, and some other sources on the psychoanalytical movement, including its history of schism, dissent, division and eventual fragmentation into mutually hostile camps I did not expect to read anything new but there was material about the relationship between Jung and Freud which was new to me. I never knew that Jung had confessed to a sort of "religious worship" of Freud or that Freud had stated he would show himself an object unfit for worship.
The book of course attempts to cramp A LOT of information into a small space, so the developing differences in the psychoanalytic movement dont get as much space as I thought they deserved really, equally the information on totem and taboo, narcissism and the tripartite nature of Freud's conception of the psyche, ie Id, Ego, Super-Ego, is basic. Its all covered and if you are only interested in a quick reference and revision tool, that's great, though if I wasnt familiar with the theories already I'd definitely want to read more to flesh out what is presented here. This is only a minor detraction from an overall strong presentation.
Another point which bares making is one to do with the entire series, the use of "talking heads" style illustrations is useful but it is not always clear if when a speech bubble or thought bubble is being used that the script is verbatim quotes a kind of useful narrative tool. Still not anything which would be too big a deal for most readers.
The book has a great index and a little dictionary of key terms, which I thought was more than the average glossary. Recommended.
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