Interface of Psychoanalysis and Psychology

By James W. Barron; Morris N. Eagle et al. | Go to book overview

24
COUNTERTRANSFERENCE THEORY,
QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH, AND
THE PROBLEM OF THERAPIST-PATIENT
SEXUAL ABUSE

MICHAEL J. TANSEY

I begin with an admission. The overwhelming majority of contributors to this book have achieved eminence as empirical researchers. Not only am I not an empirical researcher, I have until now been singularly uninterested in, if not contemptuous of, anything that the "number crunchers" have had to say. I have been a hardened example of the very type of practicing psychoanalytic psychologist whom this volume is intended to reach. Although I am an avid consumer of the theoretical literature, I have spent my entire career seeing patients in virtually complete isolation from what has been learned through quantitative research. My selection as a contributor to this volume was prompted by a recent book (Tansey & Burke, 1989) on the subject of countertransference which contains less than a handful of references to quantitative research, all of which were brought into the fold by my coauthor, Walter Burke.

I had intended to approach this chapter waving the banner of the hermeneutic approach. Psychoanalytic therapy is about searching for underlying meaning that must be interpreted, experienced, and understood only from the inside by the participants themselves—this was to have been my platform. What could possibly be learned from a group of natural scientists with their crude measures, fallacious "objectivity," oversimplified designs, and—worst of all—statistics ! One could prove anything with statistics. The phrase "meaningful statistical data" was, to me, an oxymoron of hilarious proportions.

____________________
The author gratefully acknowledges the comments and suggestions of Merton Gill, Waiter Burke, James Barron, and Robert Marshall.

-539-

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