Make the Leap; A Practical Guide to Breaking The Patterns that Hold You Back (Book Review)

Author:  Silverberg, Farrell
Publisher: Marlowe and Company
Reviewed By: Isabelle Reiniger, Winter 2008 (Vol. XXVIII, No. 1) pp. 41-43

Both of these books are meant for a general audience. The authors are Division 39 members and clearly versed in psychoanalytic theory. Silverberg takes the concept of repetition compulsion and discusses it in non-analytic terms. I appreciated the clarity with which he manages to describe the perils of repeating unproductive behaviors over and over. He goes into depth on how one must explore the patterns which one has developed in childhood and what steps will help resolve the repeated conflicts one might face.

Seemingly joining the genre of self-help books, he uses the acronym SUBGAP to describe his step-by-step process. S for seeing (negative patterns), U for understanding (both historical and operational understanding), B for breaking (developing new reactions to old triggers). The second part of the acronym is actually one repeated ‘step’ of guarding against patterns (GAP). Unfortunately, SUBGAP does not seem like the best choice of acronym as could be perceived as negative: SUB meaning under and GAP meaning something is missing or not together. The resulting short form seems to lack the peppy, inspiring energy one expects from an inspirational book and felt a little forced. Maybe Silverberg is trying to join a crowd he does not need to join. His ability to convey complex processes in plain language makes this a rich book that might have been fine without the acronym. I must admit, however, that having an acronym did help me remember the sequence that Silverberg recommends as he describes the process of psychoanalytic exploration. So it seems likely that the acronym will prove useful for the general reader.

Clinicians might recommend this book to a client who is trying to understand the therapeutic process. This book can also add some plain vocabulary and examples on how to describe the process of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in non-theoretical terms. For example, Silverberg’s step of “understanding” is broken down into historical understanding and operational understanding. Historical understanding means that old experiences occurring during childhood and adolescence are explored and connected to the development of patterns. Understanding of operational patterns is related to understanding how they work and what triggers them. Silverberg compares this latter understanding to the limited understanding a driver needs on how a car works. You know that you have to fill it with gasoline to get the motor going, which turns the wheels once you engage the accelerator. This is all you need to know. Details about the engineering principals or the manufacturing are not required in order to drive the car. Silverberg says that you only need a similarly basic understanding of your behavior patterns. It is the supply of these types of metaphors that might be useful.

Silverberg makes the point that you can follow through with his SUBGAP steps on your own, or with the help of a therapist/analyst. Overall, the book seems like good PR for psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy. It seems like a useful tool to both general readers and professionals.

The book does a good job in promoting psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. It is therefore an important book for the popular market.

Copyright

© APA Div. 39 (Psychoanalysis). All rights reserved. Readers therefore must apply the same principles of fair use to the works in this electronic archive that they would to a published, printed archive. These works may be read online, downloaded for personal or educational use, or the URL of a document (from this server) included in another electronic document. No other distribution or mirroring of the texts is allowed. The texts themselves may not be published commercially (in print or electronic form), edited, or otherwise altered without the permission of the Division of Psychoanalysis. All other interest and rights in the works, including but not limited to the right to grant or deny permission for further reproduction of the works, the right to use material from the works in subsequent works, and the right to redistribute the works by electronic means, are retained by the Division of Psychoanalysis. Direct inquiries to the chair of the Publications Committee.