Letter to Colleagues

Dear Colleague:

In writing this letter, with its included documents, I am drawing your attention to ongoing quantitative research on the effectiveness of psychoanalytic treatments; and inviting you to share the activities of our research group in any of several ways.

About a dozen years ago, a small group of experienced psychoanalysts here in New York, concerned about the lack of agreement among analysts evaluating psychoanalytic work, decided to try to do something to develop precise and reliable assessments of the nature of psychoanalytic processes. We considered that such enhanced precision would be very valuable in obvious ways, permitting decisions as to the fruitfulness of a given psychoanalytic effort; deciding the responsible ingredients of a psychoanalytic collaboration when it was proceeding well; or deciding the reverse when the indications were for a change of analyst or type of treatment.

We needed better data than a treating analyst’s notes, and found these through the Psychoanalytic Research Consortium, Inc., the custodian library of audio-taped psychoanalyses and psychotherapies that are physically housed at the Menninger Foundation. With study of these data by our group, we developed and refined a Coding Manual permitting us to ask of the segmented tape recordings a dozen questions regarding the patient’s contribution, and another dozen regarding the analyst’s contribution. Over the course of twelve years, this much-edited Manual has permitted gradually increasing inter-rater agreement as to what is going on – or not going on – in the studied treatment. In turn, we have been able to plan future phases of the research, involving assessments of psychoanalyses or psychotherapies at strategic points along each course. From such sets of observations we anticipate being able to correlate assessments of process with eventual outcomes, in a rigorous, validated manner.

After reviewing the detailed enclosures, we hope you will consider joining our group and participating in any of several ways: (1) joining a group of raters of recorded treatments; (2) considering conducting a treatment with tape recording, adding to our library of tape-recorded treatments; or (3) contributing funds for support of both activities just named.

We welcome your inquiry for details; please feel free to contact me at the phone number above.

We suggest that you study the following documents on this web site as well:

“Introduction for Colleagues to the Analytic Process Scales”

“Suggestions for Making Tape-Recordings”

“Explanation of potential research use of tape-recordings of sessions, with consent form.”

Sincerely, Sherwood Waldron Jr.