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Kantrowitz, J.L. Katz, A.L. Paolitto, F. Sashin, J. Solomon, L. (1987). The Role of Reality Testing in Psychoanalysis: Followup of 22 Cases. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 35:367-385.

(1987). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 35:367-385

The Role of Reality Testing in Psychoanalysis: Followup of 22 Cases

Judy L. Kantrowitz, Ph.D., Ann L. Katz, Frank Paolitto, M.D., Jerome Sashin, M.D. and Leonard Solomon, Ph.D.


As part of a prospective, longitudinal study of psychoanalytic outcome, 22 patients were evaluated for changes in their level of reality testing. These patients had been accepted for supervised psychoanalysis with candidates in training by senior analysts who had diagnosed them as neurotic. Psychological tests given prior to the beginning of analysis indicated, however, that more than one third of our sample demonstrated serious distortions in their perceptions of reality. When psychological tests administered one year after the completion of analysis were compared with these pretreatment tests, no significant improvement was found in the level of reality testing for the group as a whole. However, when excluding two patients who had suffered major traumas in the year following psychoanalysis, significant improvement in reality testing was found for the remaining 20 patients. Post-treatment interviews with the treating analysts revealed that in the course of analysis itself, approximately one third of these patients showed some disturbance in reality testing; only three of these patients showed significant improvement in the level of their reality testing during treatment. These findings suggest that while patients may not present clinically with evidence of impaired reality testing, such evidence may be available in psychological testing, and may become apparent in the course of the treatment.

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