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Knapp, P.H. (1963). Short-Term Psychoanalytic and Psychosomatic Predictions. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 11:245-280.

(1963). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 11:245-280

Short-Term Psychoanalytic and Psychosomatic Predictions

Peter H. Knapp, M.D.


During a four-year period, over 600 written predictions were made in four patients, covering the period from one psychoanalytic interview to the next. All four patients were in psychoanalysis on a research basis. Two of them had character disorders accompanied by some mood disturbances; two had bronchial asthma. Predictions were made by the analyst. In an early, exploratory phase he reviewed the results and rated outcomes. In a later phase, outcome was scored by an independent judge. A variety of phenomena in the psychoanalytic situation serves as objects for predictions, ranging from specific bits of behavior to subtle aspects of the patient's communication. Predictions about asthma were based upon an attempt to comprehend aspects of that syndrome in a psychosomatic model. Changes in pulmonary symptoms served as a measurable index of outcome.

Prediction as a method for psychoanalytic investigation poses problems concerned with reliability and validity. It requires a variety of measures for insuring statistical control and minimizing subjective bias. However, it is a most promising approach, offering a way to test many hypotheses within the richness of the clinical psychoanalytic situation.

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