Projective psychology, clinical approaches to the total personality

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Reviews the book, Projective psychology, clinical approaches to the total personality by Lawrence E. Abt and Leopold Bellak (Eds.) (1950). The authors seem to suggest, perhaps unfortunately, that an explanation of the psychological processes involved in responding to ambiguous material and analysis of such material requires a special set of psychological principles. Projective psychology, in contrast to academic psychology, deals with “molar concepts,” the “whole individual,” the “total personality.” It is also “dynamic” and “functional.” In general, the theory outlined attempts to integrate Gestalt psychology and psychoanalysis. For the most part, this book is a reflection of the current interest in projective techniques rather than an evaluation of them. It is characterized by enthusiasm, perhaps overselling, and, it sometimes seems to the reviewer, the frequent tendency in this field to squeeze too much magic insight from too specific or too few samples of behavior. Readers seeking a careful and critical evaluation of the theoretical, experimental, and clinical status of projective methods in the field of psychology will be disappointed. Those seeking a source book providing a general rationale for the clinical use of projective methods and brief discussions of clinical applications may find much that is useful in this book. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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