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Friedman, I. (1966). Psychoanalysis and Social Research: the Psychoanalytic Study of the Non-Patient. By Herbert Hendin, M.D., Willard Gaylin, M.D., and Arthur Carr, Ph.D. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Co., 1965, 106 pp., $ 2.95.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 26(1):104-105.
(1966). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 26(1):104-105
Psychoanalysis and Social Research: the Psychoanalytic Study of the Non-Patient. By Herbert Hendin, M.D., Willard Gaylin, M.D., and Arthur Carr, Ph.D. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Co., 1965, 106 pp., $ 2.95.
Review by: I. Friedman, M.D.
This fascinating monograph reflects a part of the continuing interest which the senior author (Dr. Hendin) has in the application of psychoanalytic methods to social research. It has been obvious for a long time that statistical analysis and psychological testing have considerable limitations as a means of researching psychosocial questions. These tools more often are of assistance as adjunctives rather than as the chief methods of procedure. The statistical methods thus far developed suffer from the handicap of not being able to reveal motivations. Most other methods depend on some form of questions and answers that reveal primarily how the interviewee thinks he should(!) feel, act or behave. Projective testing is often faulty unless it is accompanied by clinical data, and this is a difficult thing to obtain from those who are not patients. Dr. Hendin, author of “Suicide in Scandinavia,” has again employed the method he is refining to achieve some insight into the feelings of a selected segment of the “normal” (really, non-patient) population. He induces these people to undergo a series of five psychoanalytic interviews. Each interview is so structured as to implement the primary purpose of the research, namely, the gathering of information, not the treatment of the subjects.
Psychoanalytic interviews are uniquely capable of revealing the expressed and unexpressed attitudes and dynamic patterns of living of our patients. Therefore, the authors made the reasonable assumption, subsequently tested, that non-patients, if they would cooperate, could reveal themselves in the same ways. This assumption has borne considerable fruit. The series of twelve case histories are clearly presented so that the author's methods can easily be examined and, if need be, duplicated. The volunteers were selected at random, but as a group they were fairly well motivated because they were nurses at a large metropolitan hospital. It became clear from the material presented that the clinical cases which we see are an accurate barometer of the pressures evolved within our society, and that it might be more
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