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Wolfe, M.O. (1959). The Teaching and Learning of Psychotherapy: By Rudolf Ekstein, Ph.D. and Robert S. Wallerstein, M.D. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1958. 334 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 28:544-545.

(1959). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 28:544-545

The Teaching and Learning of Psychotherapy: By Rudolf Ekstein, Ph.D. and Robert S. Wallerstein, M.D. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1958. 334 pp.

Review by:
Max O. Wolfe

This book is dedicated to the students, alumni, and faculty of the Menninger School of Psychiatry, and it should properly be reviewed as representing an approach to the problem of teaching and learning of psychotherapy within that setting. Its seventeen chapters and extensive bibliography stress the theme of the title: the pedagogics of psychotherapy as it involves the complex staff of a large mental hospital.

The authors devote themselves essentially to the process of supervision as a method of training in psychotherapeutic skills. The last section discusses such technical problems as the utilization of recordings, the evaluation and selection of residents, and gives a guide to the literature. Those general considerations and problems which arise in the training program of a large psychiatric institution are described in the first two chapters. This is discussed succinctly and its elaboration emphasizes with considerable lucidity the varied complications resulting from the interplay between the hospital administrator, the supervisor of training, the student and the patient. These individuals are represented as standing in a relationship of dependent variables to each other. The two middle sections of the book, The Beginning Phase and The Learning Process, are, with the exception of a chapter on the psychology of emergencies, devoted to the process of the student's clinical supervision. Several illustrative clinical cases are included.

The reviewer is disappointed in the authors' concept of the process of supervision, particularly as they seem not only to condone but to defend the dual role of teacher and therapist assigned to the supervisor. Needless to say supervision cannot take the place of the student's therapeutic experience, and this, of course, refers to his personal analysis. The adage, 'no one can serve two masters' applies to the supervisor of psychotherapy, and all psychoanalytic training institutes have fully recognized this fact. I should like in this context to quote the authors in Chapter IX, Problems about Learning.


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