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Vollmerhausen, J.W. (1961). The Anatomy of Psychotherapy. Henry L. Lennard and Arnold Bernstein. Columbia University Press, New York, 1960. $6.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 21(2):288-291.

(1961). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 21(2):288-291

The Anatomy of Psychotherapy. Henry L. Lennard and Arnold Bernstein. Columbia University Press, New York, 1960. $6.

Review by:
Joseph W. Vollmerhausen, M.D.

Previous attempts to understand the psychotherapeutic process and the nature of psychotherapy have been made chiefly by those individuals who were engaged in therapy. Descriptions of the ongoing behavior were made in terms of such concepts as transference and countertransference and focused chiefly on the interplay of various facets—for example, “projection” of behavior in the relationship between doctor and patient. This book is an attempt to apply social-science concepts which have not hitherto been applied to psychotherapy in any systematic fashion or with any major investment of effort.

Psychotherapy is conceived as a special kind of social situation created specifically for the treatment and investigation of emotional illness. The authors believe that social-science concepts designed to describe phenomena of interaction and systems of relationships can make a major contribution to the understanding of therapy. A greater perspective on the therapeutic relationship is felt to be possible through going outside of the theories of the interacting partners. It is felt that social-science concepts and methods can help to identify those factors in the therapeutic interaction which arise from the fact that therapy is a social situation, that is, an interactive system. Further, the belief is held that in therapy verbal behavior is the major form of communication. Therefore, the methodology available to the social sciences for the systematic, quantitative study of communication can be brought to bear on the study of psychotherapy.

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