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Doria-Medina, R. (2011). From Psychoanalytic Narrative to Empirical Single Case Research: Implications for Psychoanalytic Practice. By Horst Kächele, Joseph Schachter, Helmut Thomä, and The Ulm Psychoanalytic Process Research Study Group. Psychoanalytic Inquiry Book Series. New York: Routledge, 2009, xxv + 470 pp., $110.00 hardcover, $47.50 paperback.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 59(1):220-226.
(2011). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 59(1):220-226
From Psychoanalytic Narrative to Empirical Single Case Research: Implications for Psychoanalytic Practice. By Horst Kächele, Joseph Schachter, Helmut Thomä, and The Ulm Psychoanalytic Process Research Study Group. Psychoanalytic Inquiry Book Series. New York: Routledge, 2009, xxv + 470 pp., $110.00 hardcover, $47.50 paperback.
Review by: Roberto Doria-Medina
It is a difficult task to review a book that presents the results of nearly forty years of dedication to a program of investigation, one solidly grounded on methodological decisions set well in advance as part of a way of modeling research. A method is a road that one can judge either from the inside, by traveling it, or from the outside. Because most of the text has been published previously, as the work progressed, many readers will already have formed an impression of the results and modes of research undertaken by the contributors (centered around Helmut Thomä and Horst Kächele).
A global look at the theoretical and clinical material gathered in these pages yields an impressive view—a lifelong endeavor documented with great zeal and offered to the consideration of colleagues for scrutiny and discussion. To do justice to such achievement, to show due respect to the intellectual effort and the consistency of the attempt, it would be necessary at the very least to produce a text of equal size and thoroughness. Totaling 470 pages, this work contains seven sections: Psychoanalytic Therapy Process Research (20 pages), Problems of Metascience and Methodology in Clinical Psychoanalytic Research (78 pages), The Significance of the Case History in Clinical Psychoanalytic Research (44 pages), Amalia X, the German Psychoanalytic Specimen Case (78 pages), Guided Clinical Judgments (112 pages), Linguistic Studies (58 pages), and A Summary and Implications of Research for Psychoanalytic Practice (14 pages).
Each section is scrupulously presented with an abundance of references (54 pages in all, around 1000 entries, at the back of the book). But as massive as the achievement may seem, the book does not attempt to be encyclopedic; instead it is written from a chosen perspective, selective and personal, a singular way of looking at things. That is to say that many contributions relevant to the subject are left aside, and that differing points of view are considered critically, with the aim of backing up the authors' own way of conceptualizing and practicing research and psychoanalysis.
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