While on staff of England's Cassel Hospital, a leading therapeutic community, Peter Lomas had the rare opportunity to study mothers suffering from post-partum breakdown together with their babies and, at times, the entire family. Given the media attention paid to family in both Britain and the United States, it seems odd that the close relationships between childbirth and the dynamics of family life have been only minimally addressed. Drawing from the "Independent" school of British psychoanalysis, particularly that of Donald Winnicott, and borrowing from existentialist thought and the family studies of Gregory Bateson, Lomas gives us a glimpse into the fascinating, often disturbing, intersection of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and the family at critical junctures.
The family is the focal point of Personal Disorder and Family Life, a series of Lomas' collected papers written between 1959 and 1996. Although he concentrates on the family, Lomas covers a variety of themes. "An Interpretation of Modern Obstetric Practice" explores the effect of the maternity ward on the psychology of the mother. He also critiques contemporary psychotherapeutic theory, practice, and teaching, in particular the excessive preoccupation with technique at the cost of spontaneity. Psychotherapy, he believes, can only be properly understood in the context of morality. Brave, honest, and outspoken without a hint of intellectual pretension,
Lomas has produced a powerful book at the crest of new thinking on the family as an organizing premise. As such, it will be of interest to professionals in the fields of psychoanalysis, analytically oriented psychotherapy, and individual or family counseling, as well as general readers.
"In Personal Disorder and Family Life, Lomas gives us a glimpse into the fascinating, often disturbing, intersection of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and the family at critical junctures. . . . Brave, honest, and outspoken with out a hint of intellectual pretension, Lamas has produced a powerful book at the forefront of new thinking on the family as an organizing premise."
"[A] well-written, thoughtful, and provocative book."
—Barbara Zimmerman-Slovak, A Journal of Reviews and Commentary in Mental Health
About the Author:
Peter Lomas has worked in general practice, neurosurgery, and psychiatry before training at the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London. Since that time he has practiced in child and family psychotherapy in the Health Service and independently with adults as a psychotherapist. He is the author of The Limits of Interpretation and Cultivating Intuition and the Transaction titles True and False Experience and The Psychotherapy of Everyday Life. He has also edited The Predicament of the Family.