|Book review: The Couch and the Tree|
The Couch and the Tree: Dialogues in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism: Anthony Molino. London: Constable. 1999. Pp. 361.
This book is that thing which James Strachey said did not exist: a cake made of nothing but currants. It is an anthology of writings on Buddhism and psychoanalysis, mostly by psychoanalysts of different schools, but sometimes by Buddhist teachers. There are thirty pieces in all, including three interviews, between Jung and the Zen teacher Hisamatsu, between Joyce McDougall and the Dalai Lama and between Anthony Molino and Nina Coltart. If I say it is composed entirely of currants, I mean to imply that the shrewd reader will enjoy it, but will probably choose to consume it more slowly than the driven reviewer.Molino has put together a fascinating variety of texts. He begins with a historical section, stretching back to the 1920s and the exuberant writing of Joe Tom Sun (also known as the Chicago psychoanalyst, Joseph Thompson), and a splendid period-piece by Franz Alexander, ‘Buddhistic training as an artificial catatonia’.
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