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Doidge, N. (1997). Psychodynamic Treatment Research: A Handbook For Clinical Practice. Edited by Nancy E. Miller, Lester Luborsky, Jacques P. Barber, and John P. Docherty. New York: Basic Books, 1993, 577 pp., $60.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 45:275-281.
(1997). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 45:275-281
Psychodynamic Treatment Research: A Handbook For Clinical Practice. Edited by Nancy E. Miller, Lester Luborsky, Jacques P. Barber, and John P. Docherty. New York: Basic Books, 1993, 577 pp., $60.00.
Review by: Norman Doidge
In the second half of the twentieth century, empirical psychoanalytic treatment research has quietly become a field, and these almost six hundred pages are now the best introduction to the field as a whole, including its various approaches, extensive bibliography, and achievements. But this is more than an introduction. It enlarges the field significantly. No one interested in the scientific status of clinical psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy can
credibly ignore this harvest.
Though the volume is subtitled A Handbook for Clinical Practice, its greatest strength is not so much, as the word “handbook” might imply, in informing clinicians of specific treatment strategies and tactics, though in some cases the research is sufficiently precise to do that. Rather, it informs the clinician as to which core clinical hypotheses have been corroborated, and which have not been. The book is well organized into twenty-six chapters, including a number of review articles by major psychoanalytic researchers. The articles typically begin with a survey of core clinical concepts, methodological problems, existing research, areas of consensus, and suggestions for future research. Numerous scientific techniques are employed, from tachistoscopic experiments and linguistic analysis of patient narrative to the use of psychiatric and psychological rating scales in conventional outcome studies.
A few chapters are worth highlighting. An extremely important article by Luborsky et al., never before published, reviews the existing empirical evidence for the efficacy of psychoanalytic psychotherapy in comparison with other treatments. It is sure to be widely read.
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