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Bucci, W. (1997). The Dyadic Transaction: An Investigation Into The Nature Of The Psychotherapeutic Process. By Samuel Eisenstein, Norman A. Levy, and Judd Marmor, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1994, x + 187 pp., $32.95.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 45:281-287.

(1997). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 45:281-287

The Dyadic Transaction: An Investigation Into The Nature Of The Psychotherapeutic Process. By Samuel Eisenstein, Norman A. Levy, and Judd Marmor, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1994, x + 187 pp., $32.95.

Review by:
Wilma Bucci

From 1956 to 1960, a remarkable study of the psychoanalytic process was carried out under the direction of Franz Alexander at Mount Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. The project, funded by the Ford Foundation, undertook intensive studies of two treatments, a psychoanalysis and a psychoanalytic psychotherapy, using multiple observational techniques, including direct observation through one-way mirrors, sound recordings, and recordings of physiological changes in therapist and patient. It is striking that a psychotherapy process study with the sophisticated design of this project was carried out almost four decades ago; it is even more striking that such an elaborate project, including a research case conducted by Alexander himself, is today virtually unknown in the psychotherapy research field.

The two cases of the Alexander project were completed, but the data processing came to a halt with his death in 1961. After three decades the authors, who had been members of the observer team, resumed the data processing. The present volume is the report of the psychotherapy case; the patient, a thirty-five-year-old married man, was a clinical psychologist whose initial complaints included anxiety attacks, headaches, and recurrent sexual impotence. He was seen approximately twice a week by Alexander in 1958 and 1959, for a total of 98 sessions, with 10 follow-up interviews.

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