Out of the Past, Thundering Hoofbeats

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(2), 128–129. Reviews the book, The Anatomy of Change: A Menninger Foundation Report on Testing the Effects of Psychotherapy by Stephen A. Appelbaum (see record 1979-13740-000). To many, this book will seem an anachronism. It deals with psychoanalytic patients and with projective tests. It is research without a control group and but few subjects. It took years to complete. It does not reflect a view of science or of psychology that seems congruent with the canons of experimental virtue as inculcated by graduate courses in research design. The book has a larger meaning, however. It is the expression of a simultaneous commitment to empiricism, theoretical (as opposed to statistical) significance, and naturalistic relevance. It would make a valuable reading in a course in empirical methods or one in psychological assessment. Here we are brought very near to the essence of psychological testing in the Rappaportian tradition: the development of a varied series of reduced and stabilized samples of behavior, microscopically dissected and resynthesized into a theoretically informed ideographic statement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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