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Malcove, L. (1938). Studies in Sibling Rivalry: By David M. Levy, M.D. New York: The American Orthopsychiatric Association, 1937. 96 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 7:148-151.
    

(1938). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 7:148-151

Studies in Sibling Rivalry: By David M. Levy, M.D. New York: The American Orthopsychiatric Association, 1937. 96 pp.

Review by:
Lillian Malcove

This monograph deserves the critical attention of the psychoanalyst first as a methodological excursion by a psychoanalyst into the field of experimental psychopathology and second as a contribution to our knowledge of primary impulses; their various forms of expression, and the development of the inevitable defense formations that modify these expressions.

Many of us who are acquainted with Dr. Levy's contributions to child psychiatry and child guidance, know that for a long time he has been occupied with the study of methods for investigating the emotional life of children, methods that would closely approximate the basic requirements of scientific procedure. His Studies in Sibling Rivalry seem to be an achievement of this goal. A pioneer work, it may be an answer to the challenges of such psychologists as Kurt Lewin, J. F. Brown and others, who lament the fact that psychoanalysts lack an experimental method and an adequate criticism of their data. Dr. Levy's study utilizes the experimental method and at the same time avoids the common error of prejudicing the actions of the child patient with psychoanalytic theory. The author states: 'the stimulus of psychoanalytic experience is apparent in the type of investigation and in evaluating the significance of every detail' but 'the meaning of the acts, as explained in the texts, is derived from the repeated sequences'.

The strict adherence to observation and recording of words and actions gives the findings their usefulness. One gains for the most part by the absence of symbolic interpretations. Occasionally, however, as in a case (p. 90), it does seem that understanding would be enhanced by interpreting an act instead of taking it literally.

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