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July 22, 1968

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

Author Affiliations

Beverly Hills, Calif.

JAMA. 1968;205(4):254. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140300072035

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In the therapeutic confrontation, the patient and therapist reconstruct a history that creates meaningful relationships between the past and present. In this book, Dr. Novey conducts a search into the authenticity of autobiographical data. He believes that historical data are of great value but are not valid if they are used as evidence for what "actually happened." He investigates the philosophy of history and ventures into the reliability of anamnestic reports, neurophysiological experiments, memory, legal knowledge, the validity of evidence, and psychoanalytic theory.

Dr. Novey discusses methods by which the reconstruction of history underscores the living nature of history in the therapeutic process. He believes that "having a second look" at the past could modify a person's view of his past and thereby modify the course of his future; his book represents an effort to reassert the importance of history in the treatment process and in the patient's understanding of