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Westen, D. (1998). Freud Scientifically Reappraised: Testing the Theories and Therapy. By Seymour Fisher and Roger P. Greenberg. New York: John Wiley, 1995, 353 pp., $59.95. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(3):970-974.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(3):970-974

Freud Scientifically Reappraised: Testing the Theories and Therapy. By Seymour Fisher and Roger P. Greenberg. New York: John Wiley, 1995, 353 pp., $59.95

Review by:
Drew Westen

This book will undoubtedly be the last effort anyone will undertake to review the empirical literature that bears on classical Freudian theory. This is so for two reasons, which speak to the strengths and weaknesses of this important volume. First, the authors have done such an impressive job that the task does not need to be done again. There, is probably no one else who could have done it, since the authors have been at the center of this enterprise for many years, and no one is likely to be in the position to do so again. Second, research bearing on specifically Freudian hypotheses (such as the validity of Freud's conceptualizations of the oral and anal characters) is drying up. The present volume is only a fraction of the size of the authors' earlier volume that summarized the literature up to 1977, because personality researchers are no longer interested in testing hypotheses from early-twentieth-century psychoanalysis.

And that leads to the major weakness of Freud Scientifically Appraised: it is not about the empirical appraisal of psychoanalytic hypotheses but about the appraisal of Freud's psychoanalytic hypotheses circa 1920.

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