Arts and Entertainment

The Orange Prize winner Suzanne Berne is on familiar ground with her fifth novel examining life in an affluent American village. Littlefield, Massachusetts, is named one of the 10 best places to live in America. Curiously, it also houses an unusually high number of psychotherapists. Clarice Watkins, a sociologist from the University of Chicago, decides to study Littlefield to find out exactly what makes it such a good place to live. She arrives to find a town at war, split between those who want their dogs to be off the leash in the local park and those who object. Opinions become more polarised when someone starts poisoning dogs and an undercurrent of fear pulses through the community.

Tales from the Therapist's Couch

Dear Diary: You are the only one who understands me

Columns: A good idea from ... Winnicott

I'VE ALWAYS wanted to try my hand at those quizzes in women's magazines designed to identify character types (Are you a jealous sort? Does green suit you?), and a little moment of paranoia in my private life led me to think one up the other day. If your lover hasn't called when she promised she would, what goes through your mind? Do you imagine a) that she must have been held up by an innocuous event, b) that she has been run over, or c) that she has abruptly realised you're horrible and has gone off with someone else?

Dear Santa, please help

Ready for a `Waltons' family Christmas? Thought not. LIZ BESTIC asked three experts to do some festive trouble-shooting

Tuesday Book: Darwin and Freud confront the secular world

Darwin's Worms by Adam Phillips (Faber & Faber, pounds 7.99)

`Ghosts in nursery' haunt new parents

"GHOSTS" in the nursery are wrecking relationships between parents and their children, according to new research. They are born along with the baby when parents vow not to make the same mistakes their own parents did. But they often still do.

Books: The self at a safe distance

Adam Phillips tells Anna Picard about loss, the literati, and why he wants to `do a Salinger'

Shock forecast of rise in teenage suicide bids

IN A SIGN of the growing pressures on the young, one of the most prosperous areas of the country is predicting 1,700 suicide attempts by teenagers over the next year.

Monday Book: Pre-shrunk history of the couch

CASSANDRA'S DAUGHTER: A HISTORY OF PSYCHOANALYSIS IN EUROPE AND AMERICA BY JOSEPH SCHWARTZ, ALLEN LANE/ PENGUIN PRESS, pounds 20

The importance of family dining

At the dining-table children learn about the connections between food, feelings and family life

Books: 'We left the camp singing'

An Interrupted Life: The Diaries and Letters of Etty Hillesum 1941-1943 Persephone Books pounds 10

Letters: Unfair to Newton

Sir: Joseph Schwartz likening Freud's being "wrong in every essential" with the case of Newton is inept ("Did Freud come up with the greatest idea of the century?", 16 August). Does he really believe that Freud's supposed "discoveries" are comparable with Newton's work on the inverse square law of gravitation?

Did Freud come up with the greatest idea of the century?

Psychoanalysis permits each one of us to become the poet of our own experience

Letter: Bad analysis

IN THE interests of writing a newspaper profile of Tony Blair, Brett Kahr neglects the first rule of psychoanalysis: to attempt a true analysis of a person, one has to have met them first ("The strain behind that smile", 25 July). As a "senior lecturer in psychotherapy", he should know better. How can he make serious criticisms about another's personality on the slim evidence of a few anecdotes gleaned from a book, or the type of Christmas cards he sends? To then connect this in some way with the mentally handicapped and the use of manic defence in those who may have experienced quite awful neglect or discrimination is misguided.
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