Family Romance, Family Secrets


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Case Notes from an American Psychoanalysis, 1912

Elizabeth Lunbeck and Bennett Simon

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This fascinating book, which presents an early psychoanalyst’s session-by-session notes on a case of hysteria caused by severe sexual trauma and incest, offers a vivid portrait of psychoanalytic practice in the second decade of the twentieth century. Accompanying these notes are insightful commentaries by Elizabeth Lunbeck and Bennett Simon that situate the case historically and throw light on the many difficulties that both analyst and patient encountered in the treatment. The book will be of great interest to students of the history of psychoanalysis and other psychological therapies, to those interested in the history of women and gender, and to clinicians struggling with the treatment of severely traumatized patients today.

Elizabeth Lunbeck is professor of history at Princeton University. Bennett Simon is clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard University and training and supervising analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute.

“The compelling story of Rachel C. . . . represents a rare find. The case notes constitute an important and remarkable document in the very early history of American psychoanalysis.”—Mari Jo Buhle, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences

"Family Romance, Family Secrets is a revealing account of psychoanalytic treatment conducted by a lay analyst in Boston in 1912. The themes of sexual trauma and the incestuous wishes make it a riveting read and remind us of how ideas appear, disappear, and reappear in the analytic world."—Ethel S. Person, author of Feeling Strong: The Achievement of Authentic Power

“This is a gripping story of one woman’s struggle to confront her terrible psychological wounds. The brilliant reconstruction offered by the authors opens an unexpected window on the practice of psychoanalysis in the U.S. at its very beginnings. This is an instant classic that deserves to be read alongside Freud’s Dora.”—Lynn Hunt, author of The Family Romance of the French Revolution and Eugen Weber Professor of Modern European History, UCLA

"To the small corpus of cases from the founding years of psychoanalysis, Lunbeck and Simon have added the young working woman Rachel K. Rescued from the archives and beautifully edited, this early glimpse of the Americanization of Freud’s clinical technique is also a gripping story in its own right."—Jan Goldstein, University of Chicago

ISBN: 9780300092141
Publication Date: May 11, 2003
352 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
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