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Bram, A.D. (2013). Understanding Personality Through Projective Testing, by Steven Tuber, Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson, 2012, 241 pp., $65.00 (hard copy). Psychoanal. Psychol., 30(3):497-502.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 30(3):497-502

Book Reviews

Understanding Personality Through Projective Testing, by Steven Tuber, Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson, 2012, 241 pp., $65.00 (hard copy)

Review by:
Anthony D. Bram, Ph.D.

In the current climate of clinical psychology training in which depth approaches to assessment and treatment are being deemphasized or eliminated (e.g., American Psychological Association Division 12 Presidential Task Force, 1999) in favor of symptom-focused methods, Tuber's Understanding Personality Through Projective Testing is a welcome and refreshing antidote. Tuber's volume follows in the tradition of classics on psychoanalytic psychological assessment such as Rapaport, Gill, and Schafer (1968); Schafer (1954); Allison, Blatt, and Zimet (1968); and Lerner (1998). As important and relevant as those texts continue to be, Tuber communicates his ideas and methods in a manner that is more accessible to contemporary graduate students, pre- and postdoctoral trainees, and early career psychologists who may have had less immersion in psychoanalytic theory than their predecessors in past decades. An experienced clinician, teacher, and supervisor, Tuber strives to write as if the reader is “sitting in my classroom, sharing the dialogue with me” (p. ix), and he is largely successful.

Tuber's aims are to (a) present a developmental psychodynamic framework for understanding healthy and maladaptive personality and then (b) delineate how a battery of specific projective tests (Rorschach Inkblot Method [RIM], Thematic Apperception Test [TAT], Sentence Completion Test [SCT], and Animal Preference Test [APT]) are suited to illuminate these aspects of personality. Tuber's introduction establishes that understanding patients phenomenologically is the pillar of his approach. Tuber's thesis is that projective methods are a “refined set of tools to be a better phenomonologist” (p. 5), that is, to tap into a person's internal, subjective experiences and meanings. He adds that such phenomenology must be integrated with a theory of personality that “links individual experience to the wider contexts of human adaptation” (p. 6). In the subsequent chapters, Tuber presents his developmental psychodynamic model and then moves to discuss how the various projective measures operationalize the model's key constructs in a way that elucidates a patient's phenomenological experience.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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