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Stuart, J.J. (2005). Experiences of depression: Theoretical, clinical, and research perspectives By Sidney J. Blatt Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 2004. 359 pp.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(1):203-207.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(1):203-207

Experiences of depression: Theoretical, clinical, and research perspectives By Sidney J. Blatt Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 2004. 359 pp.

Review by:
Jennifer J. Stuart

This book traces the long, productive development of an idea that first inspired Sid Blatt early in his clinical career, some 30 years ago: that attention to ‘phenomenology … rather than symptoms’ (p. 8) consistently revealed the existence of two distinct types of depression, an ‘anaclitic (dependent)’ type, and an ‘introjective (self-critical)’ type. For this reviewer, Blatt's book called to mind the old saw There are two kinds of people in the worldthose who believe there are two kinds of people in the world and those who don't (attributed to the actor and humorist Robert Benchley, and—with slightly altered phrasing—to Woody Allen). Remarkably, Blatt is both kinds of people. As a clinical psychologist with a prodigious research career, he seeks meaningful, quantifiable similarities within groups, and also meaningful differences between groups. As an analyst, he remains mindful of individual differences. At its best—as when he brings an idiographic sensibility to research design, gracefully melding quantitative and qualitative approaches—Blatt's work shows what good can come of being two kinds of people.

As bearer of dual citizenship, Blatt moves about freely in two countries (clinical psychoanalysis and academia). This book seems to assume the same, unusually high degree of mobility in its readers. Sadly, few analysts share Blatt's comfort with clinical research methodology, and few researchers share his grasp of analytic theory and technique.

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