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Kaplan, D.M. (1967). Acting Out: Theoretical and Clinical Aspects. Edited by Lawrence Edwin Abt and Stuart L. Weissman. New York: Grune & Stratton, 1965. xiii+336 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 54D(4):154-156.

(1967). Psychoanalytic Review, 54D(4):154-156

Acting Out: Theoretical and Clinical Aspects. Edited by Lawrence Edwin Abt and Stuart L. Weissman. New York: Grune & Stratton, 1965. xiii+336 pp.

Review by:
Donald M. Kaplan

This is a collection of twenty-eight original papers having to do, more or less, with acting out.

The quality of any such collective venture depends upon something more than merely the editors' command of the subject. Required, for example, is sufficient prestige to solicit articles from the right people. On this score, Abt and Weissman have done quite well. Consider the six contributors to the volume's section on the psychodiagnostic testing of acting out: Sidney Blatt, Joseph Levi, Marguerite Hertz, Zygmunt Piotrowski, Emanuel Hammer, Fred Brown. This is as worthy a braintrust on the subject as any other that might be imagined.

However, the editors of such a book are also in need of the ticklish authority to prevail upon the cooperating authors to revise and amplify inadequate manuscripts. If, as an editor, you lack this authority to a significant degree, you are bound to end up with a book like Abt and Weissman's Acting Out…a bag of mixed blessings, dependent rather precariously on the widely varying charity of the authors. To continue with the example of the section on psychodiagnostics, Emanuel Hammer's paper on predicting acting out by projective drawings is an outstanding contribution. Hammer's paper is thoroughgoing, assertive where clinical data allow, modest where they do not, admirably documented…a definitive contribution.

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