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Siller, J. (1969). Psychopathology. By Arnold H. Buss. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1966. 483 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 56C(3):485-486.

(1969). Psychoanalytic Review, 56C(3):485-486

Psychopathology. By Arnold H. Buss. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1966. 483 pp.

Review by:
Jerome Siller

Psychologists are increasingly concerned with defining their role independently of the “medical model.” Thus, concepts such as that of disease and illness are condemned, and therapeutic procedures based on social processes or learning principles are progressively favored over those stressing intrapsychic phenomena. A spate of undergraduate textbooks on abnormal psychology recently have been issued, which vigorously proclaim their emancipation from the straitjacket of archaic concepts, i.e., psychoanalytic “mythology.” To many, the psychologist's uniqueness in the area of psychopathology resides in his profession's highly developed research proficiency. Individuals holding such beliefs place a premium on verifiable procedures. Learning theory therefore becomes a springboard for those who are interested in psychopathology but for whom subjectivity and metaphysical conjecture are unacceptable. There is a natural tendency to make dynamic psychology, and psychoanalysis in particular, something of a whipping boy to demonstrate the greater virility of the new look. Psychopathology, presumably intended for advanced undergraduates, avoids naiveté while effectively demonstrating many of the issues and alternate paths that accompany identification with any particular theoretical orientation.

Professor Buss, a frequent contributor to the research literature, has presented a research oriented volume which affords maximum respect to laboratory data. For him, the subjectivity of clinical impressions drastically limits their value in scientific endeavors.

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