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Waldron, S., Jr. (1989). Forty-Two Lives in Treatment: A Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy: By Robert S. Wallerstein, New York: The Guilford Press, 1986. 784 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 58:643-647.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:643-647

Forty-Two Lives in Treatment: A Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy: By Robert S. Wallerstein, New York: The Guilford Press, 1986. 784 pp.

Review by:
Sherwood Waldron, Jr.

This book is a labor of love, Herculean and Promethean. It reports on the only comprehensive study of outcomes of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy from a perspective largely spanning the life cycle. The Psychotherapy Research Project of the Menninger Foundation and this book, its final accounting, deserve our most earnest study and appreciation.

The study is Herculean in its data accumulation and analysis. It was conceived by Wallerstein as an effort to gather data about differences between the methods and the results of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. From a small beginning in the mid-fifties, it expanded into a $100,000-a-year project involving scores of researchers working for a dozen years or more. A very extensive initial work-up was followed by collection of detailed information about the patient's treatment at termination. At that time both the patient and the therapist were extensively evaluated. Two years later the patient was brought back to Menninger for an extensive follow-up evaluation. The research team was able to obtain substantial follow-up information on 100% of the patients, and then continued to collect information on many of the patients for spans of time reaching nearly thirty years, an extraordinary achievement.

The huge amount of material collected on each of twenty-two patients who had started in psychoanalysis and twenty who had started in psychotherapy, running usually to hundreds of pages on each, was studied and summarized by Wallerstein during a sabbatical year. He produced a clinical summary of each case that averaged sixty double-spaced, typewritten pages. During a second sabbatical year, this data and, in addition, all the other publications stemming from the project were summarized and analyzed.

The resulting book contains 746 pages of text, divided into nine sections and forty chapters. This makes it a large task to digest fully. Since the primary focus is a clinical accounting and analysis of what took place, the role of the patient reports is vital.

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