EBT and the Abbreviating of
Linda J. Young, Ph.D.
her paper, “EBT and the Abbreviating of Psychology,” Dr. Young
approaches the topic of EBT from the perspectives of philosophy and
epistemology, highlighting their relevance in discussing the
evidentiary bases of different forms of psychology. She suggests
that there is pressure within the discipline of psychology to
validate and abbreviate psychological practice according to the
demands of the EBT movement, and in so doing, to accept without
question the premises of a natural science, with its accompanying
objectivist, positivist assumptions. These philosophical assumptions
bear not only on the way data is interpreted and measured, but on
the way researchers and clinicians determine that which constitutes
‘data’ and ‘evidence’ in the first place.
her paper, Dr. Young attempts to articulate what she sees as the
unique nature of the psychoanalytic enterprise, distinguishing it as
an interpretive or hermeneutic science in distinction to a natural
science. In her discussion, she urges psychoanalytic psychologists
to maintain their ground in the EBT debate by not forgetting the
unique ground upon which psychoanalysis stands. She explains how
this ground includes, among other things, vital premises about
individuality in contrast to the generic, about the importance of
context in contrast to extractable, objectifiable ‘truths’ and about
the inherent opacity and contradictoriness of human experience in
contrast to more manifest, face value, identitarian notions of self
identity. Her paper concludes with a clinical illustration with
‘evidence’ from the data of the consulting room. The material
demonstrates the insurmountable difficulties that can be
encountered, when the theoretical, philosophical and clinical
assumptions of a psychoanalytic treatment are significantly
different from those informing the research methodology used to
evaluate such work.
Linda J. Young, Ph.D. is President of the Academy for the Study of
the Psychoanalytic Arts and a Past Vice President of MSPP. She is
the author of numerous papers presented at local, national, and
international conferences. Dr. Young is a consultant at the V.A.
Hospital in Detroit and has a private practice in Ann Arbor,
Farmington Hills, and Northville.