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Article
February 1969

The Second Look: The Reconstruction of Personal History in Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;20(2):252. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740140124025

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Abstract

This small valuable posthumous volume is a succinct account of the place which history occupies in the therapeutic process. The "second look" refers, of course, to the retrospective (as well as to the anterospective) view of past history and its impact on the individual's present. Ordinarily such a review of the past from the vantage point of the ongoing transference neurosis of the present is to be found in the process which we call "reconstruction," says Novey. In this sense the job of the historian and that of the analyst and psychiatrist are quite similar. It is not some special facts alone which constitute history, but the creative overview of individual and collective experience which gives us the meaning of those facts in the course of one or of several lives. Novey, therefore, speaks of the function, philosophy, and meaning of history in general, and of

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