Ego Damage and Repair: Toward a Psychodynamic Neurology

Author(s) : J. Allan Hobson

Ego Damage and Repair: Toward a Psychodynamic Neurology

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : September 2014
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 224
  • Category :
  • Category 2 :
  • Catalogue No : 35626
  • ISBN 13 : 9781782201700
  • ISBN 10 : 178220170X

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As a psychiatric trainee at Harvard in the early 1960s, Dr Allan Hobson was taught commitment to psychoanalytic theory that was already suspect and is now almost entirely obsolete. Via a series of clinical case reports, the author first apologizes for the arrogant ignorance that he adopted from his teachers and then replaces Freudian doctrine with a scientific alternative called Psychodynamic Neurology. The new approach is solidly grounded in sleep and dream science and restores hypnosis to its rightful place in the therapeutic armamentarium.

A central precept of Ego Damage and Repair is that the self and its subjective experience (including symptoms) are natural accompaniments of spontaneous and prenatal brain activation that persists throughout life as REM sleep dreaming. Far from being the nonsense theory that psychoanalytic opponents mock, Psychodynamic Neurology views the unconscious as a hyper-meaningful set of predictions about the world that constitutes a virtual reality model which is continuously updated by personal experience. To showcase the changes in psychotherapeutic practice that are recommended, the self treatment of Dr Glen Just is described in detail. The book is designed to appeal to all who are dedicated to improving the quality of human life, including their own.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘This is a remarkable book – it is a deeply personal account of psychotherapy in its various guises, ranging from “motherectomy” to monoamines. It is written with honesty, compassion, psychoanalytic insight, and neuroscientific rigor – garnered from over half a century’s scientific and personal adventure. The story is both coherent and beautifully articulated by drawing upon the author’s personal experience, and some of the clinical vignettes are as heart-rending as they are illuminating. J. Allan Hobson artfully integrates the mechanistic and mindful to realise Freud’s “goal of a scientific psychology.” ’
— Professor Karl J. Friston, FBS, FMedSci, FRS, Wellcome Principal Fellow, Scientific Director: Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, Institute of Neurology, UCL, London

‘J. Allan Hobson has written a lucid, thoughtful and compelling book about the mind. He reflects on his distinguished career as both a sleep researcher and clinical psychiatrist and how he has deftly integrated the two. He sees the human condition as the management of different states - sleeping and waking, physical and mental, aminergic and cholinergic, individual and contextual. We weave together a sense of unity but pay a price for believing that unity is entirely real. He sees the challenge as managing the relationships among disparate states, using techniques such as hypnotic suggestion, so that state transitions are the asset they really are rather than a liability. We have been asleep at the switch. Hobson wakes us up.’
— David Spiegel, MD, Willson Professor & Associate Chair, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine

‘I have closely followed Dr Hobson’s career, working as a psychiatrist and training in both psychoanalysis and REM and dream research, and have been fascinated by his remarkable work and insights. In this enthralling new book he explains his key findings, including his recent pioneering theory of “proto-consciousness”. The book also applies his experience as a therapist and records his scientific research in order to understand and to repair ego damage and mental disorders. This is a thought-provoking book that helps us to think “outside the box” when we engage with our patients.’
—Charles Chong-Hwa Hong, psychiatrist, REM/dream researcher at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland

About the Author(s)

J. Allan Hobson is Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut and obtained an AB degree from Wesleyan University, followed by an MD from Harvard Medical School. He has worked at the Bellevue Hospital, New York, the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Boston, and the National Institute of Mental Health, Department of Physiology at the University of Lyon, France. He was awarded the Benjamin Rush Gold Medal for Best Scientific Exhibit from the American Psychiatrist Association, and was the recipient of the 1998 Distinguished Scientist Award of the Sleep Research Society. His major research interests are the neurophysiological basis of the mind and behaviour; sleep and dreaming; and the history of neurology and psychiatry. He has contributed numerous articles to scientific journals and chapters to medical textbooks, and is the author or co-author of many books and monographs, including The Dreaming Brain, and Sleep.

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