Fearful Symmetry


     Sadomasochism persistently unravels therapeutic progress. In Fearful Symmetry, Jack Novick and Kerry Kelly Novick show clinicians how to access and treat the hidden self-destructive patterns that make many patients difficult to help. Using data from infant observation, and child, adolescent and adult analyses, the Novicks explicate a multidimensional, developmental theory of sadomasochism that has been recognized as a major innovation.
     The papers collected in this volume were separately written over twenty-five years; some were published in journals, some in books no longer available, and some are unpublished. Despite the different eras of composition, purposes, and provenances, we found on reading them through that four consistent and interlocking themes emerged. These are an emphasis on the necessity for a metapsychological approach to all psychological phenomena, the importance of the developmental point of view, an assumption that child and adolescent analytic material and observation of infants and children have much to contribute to the understanding and technique of work with adults, and an increasing conviction about the role of sadomasochism and its omnipotent core in all pathology.

First published in 1996, and reprinted in paperback in 2007, Fearful Symmetry has become a classic in psychoanalytic development and technique.
Leonard Shengold wrote, “This remarkable book…a landmark work, enlightening and useful…fascinating to anyone interested in human psychology, will prove indispensable to mental health professionals.”
Harold Blum wrote, “…the book offers an illuminating, rich, and rewarding study of the enigmatic attachment or addiction to pain, and to pleasure in pain.”
Robert Tyson wrote, “Their clarity of thought and clinical focus make their book a joy to read.

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