Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

Realand Imaginary Fathers: Development, Transference, and Healing

Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

Realand Imaginary Fathers: Development, Transference, and Healing

Article excerpt

Akhtar, S. and Parens, H. (Eds.). REALAND IMAGINARY FATHERS: DEVELOPMENT, TRANSFERENCE, AND HEALING. Jason Aronson, An imprint of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2004, Soft cover, 165 pages.

Real and Imaginary Fathers presents to the reader provocative reflections associated with fatherhood. Most chapters in this book were originally presented as papers at the 33rd. Annual Margaret S. Mahler Symposium on Child Development, sponsored by the Mahler's Psychiatric Research Foundation. This foundation is recognized for advancing psychoanalytic research and scholarship.

As a systemic family therapist, I initially found Real and Imaginary Fathers to be a difficult book to read, particularly because the book is focused on Psychoanalytic theory. However, I am extremely grateful that I had the invitation to complete the reading of this book because to my delight and surprise, the book's content is fascinating and intriguing.

The greatest strength and quality of Real and Imaginary Fathers refers to the presentation of critical questions associated with fatherhood that continue to be left unaddressed.

The book is introduced by Fischer, who presents a general discussion about fathers, history and Psychoanalysis. The book then develops into a series of chapters addressing clinical cases and reflections on specific fatherhood topics. Each new chapter is followed by a commentary.

Herzog describes a clinical approach aimed at addressing the effects of father absence on adolescents (i.e., "father hunger"). Garfield provides an insightful commentary on Herzog's clinical case, and highlights the need to extend our understanding of the effects of "father hunger" not only on boys, but on girls as well.

Pruett provides relevant reflections about the effects of paternal presence on child development as well as the differences between maternal and paternal nurturing behavior. Young compliments this presentation by inviting the reader to reflect whether the ways in which changes in contemporary fatherhood such as fathers becoming primary nurturers, will result in new intrapsychically experiences for children exposed to these new expressions of fathering. …

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