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Target, M. (2002). Foundations for Conceptual Research in Psychoanalysis: Anna Ursula Dreher, London: Karnac. 2000. Pp. 208. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 83(3):712-716.

(2002). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 83(3):712-716

Foundations for Conceptual Research in Psychoanalysis: Anna Ursula Dreher, London: Karnac. 2000. Pp. 208

Review by:
Mary Target, Ph.D.

This book is very timely. Psychoanalytic conceptual research might be said to be experiencing a vogue, should psychoanalytic research permit itself such frivolities. The increased interest in conceptual studies is illustrated by the fact that the new IPA President Daniel Widlöcher has divided the IPA Research Committee into two equal halves, dealing with empirical and conceptual research. Each has its own co-chair and all members are identified as being aligned with one or the other approach to research. This extension to a committee that had previously consisted largely of empirical researchers may reflect two much broader changes. The first is a change in the climate of psychoanalytic research and of psychological research generally, to include more qualitative and conceptual approaches, and the second is recognition that continental Europe has deep and rich things to offer psychoanalysis from its hermeneutic and philosophical traditions. The Anglo-American, empirical approach to systematic research, dominating the English-language journals, is belatedly finding more room for French and German work, which—even in the field of conventional large-scale outcome studies—was previously too little known because of the language barrier. Continental conceptual research was less known still, formidable cultural and educational barriers being added to the linguistic problem. Dreher's book does us a great service in lucidly representing this approach.

Dreher's own work in this area was carried out largely at the Sigmund Freud Institut in Frankfurt, in collaboration with Professor Joseph Sandler; it is a great loss to us all that he did not live to collaborate also on this book.

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