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Triebel, A. (2009). Kächele, H., Schachter, J., & Thomä, H., and the Ulmer Process Research Study Group. From psychoanalytic narrative to empirical single case research. New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, 2009.. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 18(2):128-129.

(2009). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 18(2):128-129

Kächele, H., Schachter, J., & Thomä, H., and the Ulmer Process Research Study Group. From psychoanalytic narrative to empirical single case research. New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, 2009.

Review by:
Axel Triebel

The psychoanalytic literature is living not only from its theory, but also by its vivid case presentations. From a scientific standpoint, however, it often will be argued that the case material is applied only for the purpose to demonstrate that the specific theoretical presuppositions are correct. Therefore, many scientifically oriented colleagues demand that the frequent convincing literary anecdotes and short novels with their extreme subjective character should more often be substituted by verifiable, empirical single-case research. This is urged by the multiple theoretical diversity in our profession and the defensive position of psychoanalysis within today's society.

It is therefore invaluable to have unedited and uncensored texts from the verbal exchanges between therapists and patients. One example of such a verbal protocol is the presentation of Dewald (1972); another is that of Lichtenberg, Lachmann, and Fosshage (1996). Dewald wants to provide knowledge of the application of ego-psychology, whereas Lichtenberg and his co-workers relate to a broader spectrum of technical principles and a specific set of interventions. Helmut Thomä conducted a psychoanalytic therapy of 531 sessions with Amalia X covering a 5-year span, 517 sessions being audio-tape-recorded. At that time, Thomä was a well-respected psychoanalyst attached to the well-known and acknowledged principles of psychoanalytic technique. The full text is available for study at hand of qualified researchers via the Ulmer Textbank.

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