Kevin Volkan and Vamik VolkanJun 29, 2023
Science, Psychoanalysis, and Culture
Phoenix Publishing House 2022
In Schizophrenia: Science, Psychoanalysis, and Culture (Phoenix Publishing House, 2022), Kevin Volkan and Vamık Volkan present a comprehensive study of schizophrenia using a psychoanalytic lens on the existing interdisciplinary research. Over the last seventy years, mainstream research on the causes, prevalence, and treatment of schizophrenia has greatly diverged from psychoanalytic thinking. However, the emergence of the field of neuro-psychoanalysis brings hope that psychoanalytic metapsychology and clinical theory may once again provide valuable insight into understanding schizophrenia.
Psychoanalytic treatment may not be appropriate for many sufferers but psychoanalysis does provide insight to inform and improve treatment. It can also illuminate what aspects of schizophrenia are common across cultures, where they present unique characteristics, and just how cultural variations occur. For any future improvement in understanding and treating schizophrenia, the cultural underpinnings and expressions of schizophrenic illness need to be made clear.
For clinicians in the field, the authors’ aim is to deepen insight and promote the use of psychotherapy and integrated treatments, while increasing sensitivity to cultural variations in schizophrenic disease. Accordingly, this book is divided into four sections. The first gives a brief overview and outline of the mainstream understanding of schizophrenia. The second drills down to focus on general psychoanalytic ideas about schizophrenia, culminating with a focus on problems with early object relations. The third looks at how psychoanalytic treatment can be successful in some cases. The fourth and final part discusses how views of the disorder and the disorder itself are affected by culture.
The authors hope to generate insight and understanding of schizophrenic disorders which could lead to new approaches to treating and possibly preventing schizophrenia. It is a must-read for all clinicians and trainees working in the field and presents interesting ideas to anyone with an interest in the subject.
Karyne Messina is a psychologist and a psychoanalyst with the Baltimore Washington Center for Psychoanalysis. She is on the medical staff at Suburban Hospital of Johns Hopkins Hospital. She is author of Resurgence of Global Populism: A Psychoanalytic Study of Projective Identification, Blame Shifting and the Corruption of Democracy.