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Sandler, J. (1962). Research in Psycho-Analysis—The Hampstead Index as an Instrument of Psycho-Analytic Research. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 43:287-291.

(1962). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 43:287-291

Research in Psycho-Analysis—The Hampstead Index as an Instrument of Psycho-Analytic Research Related Papers

Joseph Sandler


Some seven or eight years ago the research project known as the Hampstead Index was initiated. Quite apart from the concrete results obtained in this project, work with it has prompted the consideration of a number of problems of research methodology in psychoanalysis. An outcome of this is the conclusion that the technique of 'indexing' can provide the basis for a method of research in psycho-analysis which fulfils the requirements of a scientific method.

The first part of this paper will be devoted to a necessarily short sketch of the development of the Hampstead Index, the second to some of its theoretical implications from the point of view of scientific method, and the last part to some of the potentialities of index construction.

One of the duties of psycho-analytic child therapists and analysts who have cases in daily analysis at the Hampstead Clinic is documentation, for the psycho-analytic material collected there is the property of the Clinic as a whole, and is meant to be available for research. Therapists write detailed weekly reports, and further reports every two months.

With the accumulation of this material, the Clinic was faced with the problem of using the recorded data for the purposes of research. The mere accumulation of records, however accurate and illuminating, does not constitute research. A solution of this problem came about through a suggestion by Mrs Dorothy Burlingham, that an index to the case material be constructed, which would make the material more accessible for research, teaching, and reference purposes, and which would suggest new lines of research by assembling the analytic data in such a way as to facilitate comparison between cases.

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