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Newsletter of the Society for Psychotherapy Research U.K.

Volume 5(1), September 1994

ISSN 1359-3706

Mounted by Chris Evans C.Evans@sghms.ac.uk in July 1995, individual items separated for presentation as individual files to help people with slow connections 8.ii.96, slightly altered 15.ii.96

Editor: Chris Evans

Section of Psychotherapy, Dept. of Mental Health Sciences,
St. George's Hospital Medical School,
Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE
Phone/fax: 0181-725 2540

Feedback greatly appreciated: Email [if your HTML browser doesn't support "mailto:" then use a mail package and send to: C.Evans@sghms.ac.uk]

Inside This Issue


Urgent! Deadline for submissions for Ravenscar meeting: 14th of October! (HTML readers please note -- this was October 1994!! Watch this space for news of next conference)

Next year we are back to our normal format of having the SPR (UK) conference at Ravenscar after having a special year in 1994 with two very successful events: the March one day meeting in Birmingham on "Survival of the Fittest? - Proving the worth of NHS psychotherapy" and the 1994 international jamboree at York in the Summer.

I have taken over from Else Guthrie as the UK conference organizer and I want to continue her work developing new ideas for the conference and not letting it become stale or sterile. Those of you who were at Ravenscar in 1993 will know how much passion the format of the conference can evoke but be reassured that there is no attempt afoot to change the conference into an experiential event: they are for others to hold. One of SPR's fundamental principles is to foster the development of research which will improve clinical practice, prove the worth, and secure the future of psychotherapy - and the conference will play its part in that.

However, I am also fully aware that a great deal of the benefit of Ravenscar is for like-minded psychotherapists with an interest in research to get together, have a few drinks, walk along the cliff top and be well fed and watered as well as hearing high quality scientific papers. American SPR members I've met call it "networking" but that misses part of the point - it goes deeper. Being group-analytically inclined I think of it more as "matrixing" - or developing one's professional matrix for those who want to dignify it with a few extra words. Foulkes defined "matrix" as "the hypothetical web of communication and relationship in a given group. It is the common ground which ultimately determines the meaning and significance of all events". That's not a bad principle to have in mind for thinking about what makes a good conference.

The traditionally high quality of papers of course depends on a good number of suitable submissions. So I would implore all of you to think about any research you are involved in and submit an abstract if there is anything that should be ready by next March. Remember how a deadline focuses the mind and makes you finish that research you have never quite got around to! If there are others working with you who might not be SPR members please encourage them to submit abstracts too.

This year I have introduced an abstract form - which should help iron out problems identifying and communicating with authors. I am asking that abstracts should adhere to a simple structure and a length which is explained on the forms. This will allow the programme committee to make fairer choices, and ensure that you receive a better booklet of abstracts when you arrive at the conference. We do nor want to exclude any research which does not fit into our headings but write an explanatory note as well as the abstract if that is the case.

You should all have received abstract forms, but if you haven't, or you want more, 'phone:

[deleted in HTML version to prevent confusion!]

If you are going to send them in (or request them) by fax the number is:

[deleted in HTML version to prevent confusion!]

The closing date for submissions is FRIDAY 14th OCTOBER 1994 though if you might be able to submit something a little later than that you should tell me as soon as possible so I know that it is in the pipeline. I hope to see you at Ravenscar.

Rex Haigh [Pages 1 to 2 in printed version] [return to index]


This is my second edition of Network. It will take a while to find the right format and timing and you may have noticed that there was no Spring edition this year. Parenthood and everyone else hosting the international meeting in York meant I had almost nothing to print then. I anticipate that we will probably get out two editions next year with the Spring one giving a flavour of what happened at Ravenscar and announcing an autumn one day meeting as we return to the usual SPR(UK) schedule.

It's been a hectic year and various bodies, in their wisdom have also changed all the telephone numbers in the medical school and our Email address so please update your records and submit things for the next edition now! The address for "snail mail" contributions has not changed:

Section of Psychotherapy,
Dept. of Mental Health Sciences,
St. George's Hosp. Med. School,
Cranmer Terrace,
SW17 0RE

Please put submissions on a DOS format 3½" or 5¼"diskette if you can. I can cope with most WP file formats though Word for Windows, RTF, Word Perfect 5.1 or ASCII are preferred.

The 'phone and 'fax number is:

0181 - 725 2540

If you are 'faxing a submission from 'fax software please don't use italics and please do use a large font: nothing less than 12 point. If you're 'faxing from a conventional machine the dislike of italics applies and please use an even larger font if you have that sort of control of your typography: 14 point or more and please try to feed the paper as squarely as you can! At present the character recognition software I use makes a dog's breakfast of recognizing most things and I don't have secretarial support so if I can use character recognition it's a relief.

Email should now be sent to:


(we've lost the "lon" if you're wondering what changed). At present we don't seem to be able to cope with MIME attachments so send things as ASCII copy but if you have a non-ASCII file I like then try sending it as a MIME attachment as well so I can do a bit more to work out what's going wrong with our MIME option.

I will try to publish anything offered that seems relevant and unlikely to get me in court for libel. Get writing!

Chris Evans Email : ME! [if your HTML browser doesn't support "mailto:" then use a mail package and send to: C.Evans@sghms.ac.uk] [Page 2 in printed version] [return to index]

Reviews wanted

I still have the following books for review (someone else must want to do one of them - if you don't, I will and that will get very tedious for those of you don't like my opinions).

  1. Linehan (1993) Skills training manual for treating borderline personality disorder. Guilford. £20.50
  2. Linehan (1993) Cognitive-behavioral treatment of borderline personality disorder. Guilford. £32.95
  3. Frijda (1993) Appraisal and beyond. The issue of cognitive determinants of emotion. Lawrence Erlbaum. £19.95
  4. Spurling (1993) From the words of my mouth. Tradition in psychotherapy. Routledge. £12.99
  5. Berman (1993) Beyond the smile. The therapeutic use of the photograph. Routledge. £14.99
  6. Quinodoz (1993) The taming of solitude. Separation anxiety in psychoanalysis. Routledge. £14.99
  7. Gomez (1991) Psychological and psychiatric problems in men. Routledge. £12.99
  8. Boyle (1990) Schizophrenia. A scientific delusion? Routledge. £13.99

[HTML readers. I can only offer books for review to SPR(UK) members (though I might bend on that for books that have been around my office for say eighteen months!). If you are an SPR(UK) member then please find your way to the latest issue {1kb} for the current state of what's available.]

I'm still asking for a financial hostage to ensure I actually get reviews rather than just hand out books: if you want to do a review, send me a cheque for the value of the book made out to:

"St. George's Hospital Medical School, MHGP RNFB account"

and I'll send you the book. When I get the review, you get your money back. I'm keen to get reviews of books that you believe are either important to read, or important to avoid, so look at your shelves and see if you can knock off a quick review now. The books don't have to be all that recent, reviews of older things that are either overvalued or due for a reassessment will be very useful for most of us. If you want me to get you a book to review then send me the author, title and the publisher (and telephone and/or fax number for the publisher if you can get them) and I'll get you a copy.

I'm also interested in reviews of software but I think it may be difficult to get hold of review copies however, if you have a piece of software that you think is genuinely useful in psychotherapy research, or else one which might be expected to be but which spends all your time causing havoc, then please let us know.

Chris Evans [Pages 2 to 3 in printed version] [return to index]

"Survival of the fittest" meeting

In the absence of our usual Ravenscar "bash", we had a one day meeting in March, to keep the rhythm of annual meetings, while recognizing that the international meeting in York might compete unhelpfully with a Ravenscar meeting.

The steering committee aimed to produce a provocative programme on the theme of "Survival of the fittest - proving the worth of NHS psychotherapy". Papers selected covered two main areas: brief therapy and its practical application in primary care; and research into groups and Therapeutic Community (TC) methods. Each component concluded with a panel discussion which in both cases was lively and involved the large audience which included many non-members.

Glenys Parry gave a stimulating key note address - an overview of brief therapy from a clinical and financial perspective. Paradoxically the clearest point to emerge from this was the need to define and clarify appropriate criteria for long term therapy. Glenys stressed that brief therapy could either be used as an approach in its own right or as a test of appropriateness and workability of longer term therapy.

Adrian Hemmings looked at counsellor interventions in general practice but was unable clearly to differentiate outcomes from those of standard general practice interventions.

Mary Burton looked at differences in characteristics between referrals to a counsellor and to a clinical psychology service. In this pilot study a predominance of depressed and anxious patients were referred to the counsellor, while those with enduring personality or relationship problems were referred to psychology. Panel discussion identified a need for more audit of counsellor training and counsellor and patient background, of the referral patterns of general practitioners and of eventual outcome.

The afternoon presentations included a report from Bridget Dolan of her extensive follow up study of users of the Henderson Hospital TC. It appears that general morbidity levels decrease significantly although there is evidence that ex-patients make better use of primary care services after treatment thus showing increased service usage. The data have been important in the survival of the hospital in a potentially hostile climate, and must be an example to us all.

The day concluded with a lively panel discussion involving the local presenters and others involved in the TC movement. The day was a model of smooth organisation thanks Rex Haigh who used it as a dry run for Ravenscar '95 which is now in his capable hands. Judging by the quality of this meeting we have much to look forward to. The committee also hope that some of the many non-members there (the room was full to bursting point) will be stimulated to join and to come to Ravenscar.

Ian Macilwain (Ross Clinic, Royal Cornhill Hospital, Cornhill Road, Aberdeen AB9 2ZF)

[Pages 3 to 4 in printed version] [return to index]


The times they are a changin'

It seems a long time since the last Ravenscar meeting and much has happened. Giving myself some time to reflect on SPR, my mind goes back to the meeting before last (1992) in which, for the first time perhaps, there were real dissatisfactions expressed with aspects of the UK organisation and the annual meeting. The following meeting seemed to go a long way towards addressing those dissatisfactions. Coincidentally, the hotel had 'revamped' the ballroom and, although perhaps not to everybody's taste, it felt a much lighter and brighter place to listen to the presentations compared to the rather dark and drab decor before. And in terms of variety, all those at that meeting will well remember the 'ultra brief' introductions to the posters so adeptly chaired by Glenys Parry.

This year has been different: no annual meeting but instead a one-day meeting at the Uffculme and the International meeting at York. Here we have two very different meetings which give the widest expression to the range of SPR meetings. Both meetings were packed. I forget the exact number of people attending Uffculme but I remember the room was absolutely full. And the numbers for York were, I believe, somewhere around 340 - international meetings invariably have 300 attenders. From the list of attenders, I counted just over 60 people from the UK - interestingly, many not attenders at the Ravenscar meetings. Still, there were many familiar UK faces there. There were also some older faces visiting York: Sol Garfield and Allen Bergin giving an enchanting performance surrounding a summary of the 4th edition of their Handbook. I had gone expecting it to be a less than exciting session but had forgotten the wit of Sol Garfield and the warmth of Allen Bergin. I came away from the session having experienced a small time-warp of a passing age of SPR.

Another, perhaps more diffuse, impact from the York meeting related to research methods. There was a plenary session on qualitative methods chaired by Clara Hill and with some eminent speakers (including Bill Stiles, David Rennie). Together with Robert Elliott's attempts to define criteria for evaluating qualitative research in journals, it might appear that those researchers and practitioners who have a commitment to more qualitative approaches, may well be encouraged to submit their work to journals. It is noteworthy that Robert Elliott is the incoming editor for Psychotherapy Research and Clara Hill is editor for Journal of Counseling Psychology (which has a special feature on qualitative work in the current issue).

Thus the field may be moving slowly to better reflect the position of methodological pluralism which is central to SPR. However, while changes are happening in the academic field, changes are also happening within certain institutions. As many people will know, a line has been drawn under both the Warwick MSc course in psychotherapy and the Social and Applied Psychology Unit. Of course, we are all hoping that the closing of these two settings of psychotherapy research will open new and 'better' situations but it is a healthy reminder that we live in a competitive world: the Research Assessment Exercise due for March 1996 is a timely reminder.

So, times are changing and we need to ensure that SPR(UK) not only survives but also that it blossoms. We need to ensure that we are both responsive to the needs in the field but also that we retain the central component that we are a society committed to research - as good research as we can possibly do. And one opportunity here comes from the Mental Health Foundation's Psychotherapy Research Initiative (guided by Mark Aveline and David Shapiro) which is seeking scientific proposals for research into three areas: core battery of change measures; therapist competencies, and health care economics. These are surely areas we in SPR(UK) have an interest in. Certainly the first of these is one area I am committed to arising from work carried out at SAPU. I believe this is critical. My attempts have been frustrated following the decision of National Computer Systems not to give permission for the 18-item version of the SCL-90 to be used. Hence, if anyone is using it, I suggest you 'transfer' to another measure when convenient (e.g. the Brief Symptom Inventory). But, in terms of the MHF proposals, pick up your pens ......

As we enter our second decade of meetings (March 19-22, 1995 is the next one), I hope that SPR(UK) can retain the solid ground it has made but also continue to bring in new people with new and challenging ideas about psychotherapy research. However, I feel that we are going to have to 'bite the bullet' on one issue which has grumbled along for some considerable time, namely our differential dues. We have been paying £25 (approx. $40) as against the full dues of $60. At the Executive Meeting, the Society welcomed a new 4th chapter - Latin America. This new chapter is paying the full dues of $60. It is becoming increasing difficult, and probably untenable, to argue a case as to why we, out of all members of the Society, should be paying a lower rate. The proposal is that we aim for parity (i.e. $60, say £40) by 1996. I recognize that for some people this will raise the question of whether they wish to remain a member, particularly if they are members of multiple societies, with each society making its own requests for dues. So, not only the times but also the dues may be changing.... Perhaps people who feel strongly about this should write to me asap so that I can gauge reactions.

Finally, I hope people will use NETWORK, the telephone, e-mail, and the grapevine, to pass on information and keep the 'feel' of SPR(UK) running until we meet in Ravenscar.

Michael Barkham Email to Michael [If your HTML browser doesn't support "mailto:" then use your own mailer and send to: M.Barkham@uk.ac.sheffield] [Pages 5 and 6 in printed version] [return to index]

Collaborators wanted

Is anybody interested in joining a collaborative project to develop a measure that would be useful in service evaluation and in future research? Although past therapeutic relationships may be crucial to how a new attempt to provide help is received, there is no agreed method of recording a patient's past experience of therapeutic interventions. Without one, attempts to compare outcome between individuals in audit or research remain compromised, while it's hard to demonstrate the extent to which prior therapeutic experience may influence subsequent events. I am trying to co-ordinate efforts to develop a way of recording past therapeutic history that is simple enough and useful enough to become widely used.

There would be a significant amount of groundwork once a core group is established, including field trials in clinical departments. It is the sort of project that is likely to attract funding, after some preliminary work has been done. I am seeking to establish a group of people interested in taking this further. Could any 'Network' readers with an interest contact me by the end of October? You should be willing to come to some brainstorming meetings, probably in the Midlands, and be able to undertake some pilot work in the clinical service where you work.

Chris Mace
Sen.Lecturer in Psychotherapy,
Dept. of Psychology, University of Warwick
Coventry, CV4 7AL
Phone: 0203 523745
Fax: 0203 524311
(No E-mail connection - yet!)

[He has now: it's psras@csv.warwick.ac.uk. If your HTML browser supports "mailto:" you can use this button: Email to Chris Mace]

[Pages 5 to 6 in printed version] [return to index]

Universities Psychotherapy Association

The Universities Psychotherapy Association had its first Scientific and Annual General Meeting on the 16th December 1993. This was attended by 28 people and the UPA officially inaugurated by the adoption of a constitution, and the election of officers.

The UPA now has a substantial membership drawn from over 20 University courses. Some of these latter are nonclinical and graduates of these courses will become research rather than clinical members of UPA. UPA is applying for institutional membership of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy and will, if accepted, be putting forward, in collaboration with Sections of UKCP, clinical members for registration. It is hoped that, in this way, graduates of University psychotherapy trainings which are not linked to training institutes can be registered.

UPA is strictly non-sectarian. We welcome the staff and students of University courses and research centres in the field of psychotherapy whatever their theoretical background. We intend to sponsor collaborative ventures, including conferences, to develop the academic and research base of psychotherapy and look forward to working closely with SPR in this area. We also intend to be a forum for exploration of the common ground in the psychotherapies.

Once we are established, UPA and its individual members with experience in University courses will be available to assist academics in planning new courses and Universities in the validation and audit of existing courses.

The present Council of the UPA is Claire Adams (University of Belfast), Dennis Flannery (University of Leeds), Alison Hall (Leeds Metropolitan University), Tim Kendall, Vice-Chair, (University of Sheffield), Frans Lohman, Honorary Treasurer, (University of Hull), Alan Lidmila (University of Sheffield), Nick Riding, Honorary Secretary, (University of Kent), and Digby Tantum, Chair, (University of Warwick).

There is overlap between the remit of UPA and of SPR. I hope that it will provide opportunities for dialogue and joint action which will be fruitful for both organizations.

Digby Tantum, Professor of Psychotherapy

Dept. of Psychology, University of Warwick
Coventry, CV4 7AL
Phone: 0203 523745
Fax: 0203 524311

[Page 6 in printed version] [return to index]

European Personal Construct Association

The EPCA was created in 1990 when participants at that year's European based Conference on Personal Construct Psychology recognized the need for some more permanent professional association which could:

The EPCA mission statement is:

"To raise awareness of Personal Construct Psychology and its applications among Europeans, and to promote the exchange of ideas, information and training."

Membership is open to anyone who is interested in personal construct psychology, who feels comfortable with the values reflected in the mission statement, and who is willing to pay the fee. This is currently set at £10 for students and new members, and £30 for people who are rejoining from previous years; this fee covers the 2-year period April 1994 - March 1996 inclusive.


  1. membership database
  2. special interest groups
  3. national and international conferences which take place on alternate years
  4. bi-annual newsletter which reports on national and international developments
  5. exchange of information about training courses in PCP
  6. mechanisms for professional and legal accreditation of people involved in psychotherapy

Anyone wishing to join should write to Dr. Pam Denicolo at:

15, Rowans Close,
Hants GU14 9EJ

Chris Evans [Pages 6 to 7 in printed version] [return to index]


Holmes on Bowlby

Holmes, J. (1993). John Bowlby and Attachment Theory. in "The Makers of Modern Psychotherapy", Series Editor: Laurence Spurling. London: Routledge.

Jeremy Holmes says his aim was to present a story of Attachment Theory: to take an historical perspective on its evolution; consider its implications for psychotherapy; and consider why Bowlby has become a household name. To achieve these aims Holmes provides much biographical detail on Bowlby then summarizes attachment theory and examines its implications for personality development in the context of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, psychiatric disorder and society. This is much needed, but it is perhaps in the breadth of Jeremy Holmes mission that I find my dissatisfaction with the volume.

I came to the book with high hopes. I anticipated a critical overview of attachment theory as well as a presentation of Bowlby that would give insights into the developing relationship of attachment theory with psychotherapy/ psychoanalysis and psychotherapy research. I was disappointed. The book appears to be written for many personal reasons and this lends a tenor of self indulgent romanticism. This means that the text is devoid of the criticism that would have been a positive tribute to Bowlby's intentions. In the epilogue Holmes acknowledges that Bowlby, as his teacher, described his writings as "orotund" and it seems to me that the description still applies.

His benevolent and familiar attitude to Bowlby also leads him to exaggerate the achievements of attachment research to date, particularly relating to adults. Certainly interesting work exists and the work of Ainsworth, Main, Fonagy and others Holmes cites is extremely important. However, in line with much psychotherapy research, numbers are often small and effects imprecisely estimated. I feel that Holmes's claims are premature.

My biggest disappointment was that in a number of places Holmes says he will bring together attachment theory and psychoanalysis, but he never successfully achieves this. His view of how attachment theory informs psychotherapy fits recent cognitive therapy but misses the richness of the analytic approach since he describes a quite static Unconscious, not the dynamic Unconscious of Freud and the depth analytic tradition.

On the positive side, since I come from a forensic background, I found something satisfying in the numerous references to the relationship of attachment and environmental influences (e.g. separation) in the aetiology of delinquency, personality disorder etc. The book is peppered through with clinical examples which adds texture and interest.

I suspect that this volume will be of interest to a wide audience. There is much biographical detail and the book may provide a useful introduction to Bowlby and Attachment Theory for students. However, I feel it is limited in what it has to offer the psychotherapy researcher.

Jo-anne Carlyle.

Clinical Psychology Dept.
Broadmoor Hospital,
Crowthorne, Berks. RG11 7EG

[Page 7 in printed version] [return to index]

Group-analytic interventions

Kennard, Roberts and Winter (1993) A Work Book of Group-Analytic Interventions. With contributions from Yiannis Arzoumanides and Malcolm Pines. London: Routledge. Pp.124. £12.99 Paperback.

This book arose from research in which members of the Institute of Group Analysis were sent eight vignettes describing pivotal moments in groups. They were are asked three questions:

Write down you understanding of the situation, i.e. What's going on? How did things get to be like this?

What intervention, if any, would you make?

Finally, write down briefly your reasons for making this intervention.

The vignettes and responses form the core of the book supported by some discussion chapters and an appendix on the schools of group psychotherapy.

This is a workbook, not a psychotherapy research report but it is interesting for psychotherapy researchers, particularly those wishing to increase the depth of analytic work researched and those interested in researching groups.

There are many weaknesses if the book is read as a research report. We are not told any of the following: the timing of the study; how many people were contacted; how circulation was achieved; how many responded; any evidence of non-response bias. There is no comment on possible reasons for non-response but I know from informal conversations at the I.G.A. that some people were vehemently against the study and that there was the ambivalence that psychodynamic training institutions, partly rightly, always feel about research. Knowing nothing much about the respondent group we cannot assess generalisability. A more serious problem is that we are only told the gender of the respondent for the 164 quotes, 87 (53%) were from men. I understand that respondents wanted anonymity but this makes it impossible to link the responses of any one analyst which would have improved the feel of the book and shouldn't have compromised anonymity. This makes it impossible to consider individual differences in responses so not only generalisability but also understanding of individuality have both been compromised. I had the impression that the responses had been edited but this is not clearly marked. This clearly makes the book more readable than it would have been which is appropriate for a workbook but I think some compromise might profitably have been arranged. My final reservation concerns the authors' reactions to the respondents' suggested interventions. Some of the reactions seemed quite judgmental and otherwise the authors have only organized the responses into themes. I found myself wondering with enthusiasm what some strict discourse analysts would have done or what they might do with the composite text of responses and commentary in the book as it now stands. I felt there were threads of "discourse" that would have benefited from such analysis particularly concerning latent content and determinism in analytic work and autonomy and sociality in groups.

These are grumbles, what are the strengths? We have some 164 responses to eight different vignettes. We have the vignettes in full and can add our own suggestions and solicit others. We have a wonderful example of one way to explore the work of therapists who are, as yet, still reluctant to have direct recording of their work. We have a reminder of how far apart are the thinking of working group analysts and the thinking of psychotherapy process researchers at least as shown in most recent psychotherapy process research reports I've read. Dynamic unconsciousness is here considered a profound wall between what patients experienced and what they can tell you (there is disappointingly little evidence the respondents looked for similar walls in their countertransferences). There is also a real sense of the complexity of group work where any one person can respond to any other, or to any coalition between others or between themselves and others. Finally there is a sense of how an open, slow time frame links with analytic neutrality as to the direction of change. (This is perhaps the most revealing aspect of the authors' contributions: it seemed to me that they are strictly psychodynamic psychotherapists rather than analysts, that they don't believe that the direction of change is the responsibility and prerogative of the patients, rather they convey that they have a goal for patients based on their thinking about what constitutes healthy functioning.)

There is probably a great deal of scope now to replicate and extend this study with psychodynamic group therapists from other schools and to carry out more detailed discourse analysis of the text of the book. Above all there is the challenge to others to explore the strengths and limitations (there are clearly many) of the vignette method(s) further. Read this book if you are a practicing group therapist, read it again if you're a group therapist and psychotherapy researcher. You're not a group therapist at all? Well read this book if you want to be forced to think more about the gulf between practice and research in some areas of psychotherapy!

Chris Evans [Page 8 in printed version] [return to index]

Sickle cell anaemia

Midence & Elander (1994). Sickle cell disease: a psychosocial approach. Oxford: Radcliffe Medical Press. 177pp. £25 hardback.

This is a brave book about a very important subject whose psychological aspects, including the institutional and individual racism that has so handicapped care, all need coverage and research. The book is thorough but I felt the authors has tried too hard to be all things to all readers: to be civilized, to provide a slim volume for people wanting an introduction to the topic and also to provide an encyclopaedic summary of the literature for those who need to go further. I thought their treatment of the issues of ethnicity and racism was too delicate and understated for a book that aims to give a "psychosocial approach" but I know that many would disagree with me and would argue that more vehement expansion of that aspect will just generate more resistances than it will dissolve. The positive strengths of the book are that it is thorough and clear and provides a very readable introduction to the subject and, with 267 references which sound pretty comprehensive and up to date, gives much that would enable psychotherapy researchers who want to get into a deeply under-resourced and under-researched area a clear springboard.

Chris Evans [Pages 8 to 9 in printed version] [return to index]

Evaluating social science research

Black (1993) Evaluating social science research. An introduction. London:Sage, 183pp. £10.95 paper; £30 hdbk.

I thought this a very disappointing book. The chapters are:

These headings form part of a checklist that Black suggests you use for evaluating research. I had three main objections to the book. The greatest objection was that it's so unquestioningly confined to quantitative work in a traditional positivist line. There's much to be said in favour of this tradition and of work done well using its methodological resources. However, there are limitations, criticisms and alternatives of the paradigm that should be at least noted in a book with such a grand title. My next objection was that the handling of positivist methods is not done particularly well and serves mostly as a pointer toward Kerlinger - Black's hero and I don't object to that! My final objection is that this is not the book it seems, it's another that has been inverted. It is actually just another short guide to working in the frequentist/positivist tradition. That book has then been turned around and called a guide to evaluation but it remains a cookery book of how people should have done it, not an introduction to the oenophily or gastronomy we all need as consumers of the increasingly "fast food" menus of published social science.

Chris Evans [Page 9 in printed version] [return to index]

Epi info 6

Epi Info is a complete public domain DOS package for word processing, database management, and epidemiological statistics. It requires an PC running DOS 2.0 or higher, 640k of RAM and at least one floppy drive. It is possible to run it from a dual 360k floppy machine but a 720k or larger floppy is much preferable and a hard disk optimal. Graphics for the plots are possible using Hercules, EGA, VGA, 3270, 8514 and AT&T (= early Olivettis in Europe). Graphic printing is possible using driver for 30 of the most prevalent DOS oriented dot matrix, ink jet and laser printers and graphic file export is possible in a number of formats including CGM, BMP, TIFF, IMG, WPG, DXF and Postscript. It is menu driven and contains a very good on-line manual as well as very extensive help facilities and excellent examples. The emphasis is strongly on epidemiological statistics so the handling of categorical variables and cross-tabulation analyses is superb but the range of analyses for continuous variables is less extensive. The greatest appeals of the package for psychotherapy researchers are:

The examples are all epidemiological but excellent and the package comes strongly recommended. I'm still looking for my perfect survey package for generating questionnaires for screen and paper for data entry, validation and export but EPI INFO comes close for these things if you can accept the simple DOS basis of the program. I'm also still looking for my perfect statistics package for analyzing data and here Epi Info doesn't even come close until you realize it's doing all it does for no money at all. Strongly recommended for your hard disc!

If you want a copy you may be able to get it from the HENSA archive if you're connected to JANET or you can get it with a lovely printed manual from the authors for $65:

USD, Inc.
2075-A West Park Place,
Stone Mountain,
Georgia 30087 U.S.A.
Email: jrb9@orkand.em.cdc.gov

Alternatively, if you send me £10 to cover diskettes, post and time I'll mail it the three diskettes to you, put them in a 3½" drive, log onto that drive, type INSTALL and you're away.

Chris Evans [Pages 9 to 10 in printed version] [return to index]

Question mark designer

Question Mark Designer for Windows. Question Mark Computing Ltd. (0171-284 3999; Email: qmark@cix.compulink.co.uk) £399.

I bought an early version of ? Mark for DOS quite a few years ago thinking it would help me set up MCQs for postgraduate teaching I was doing in psychiatry. I soon realized that although it was a wonderful product, it was not really very helpful for what I needed. This version, kindly provided for review purposes, is a windows package and is vastly easier to use than that DOS version and capable of embedding graphics and even video clips into questions. The package is still totally oriented to interactive answering on a PC and has no really useful option to get the questions you design out to paper so it still isn't the program I'm looking for. Furthermore the present version doesn't allow the common response format in psychological questionnaires in which there a number of mutually exclusive options ("radio buttons" in PC terminology) where each gets a different numerical score. The final problem for me is that the ways of exporting the score data are not particularly suited to those of us who want to take the item data out and put them into a stats package (it's possible, but I wouldn't want to do it often as it would involve writing some quite tricky input statements in the stats package to find the item responses in the detailed information output option of ? Mark's export options).

I am told that version 2 is due for release in October and will have numerical answers which can be input by button boxes on screen and I'm told that the new version will allow "Rich Text Format" in the wording of questions and export to file which would facilitate printing paper versions of the questionnaire.

If you have the resources to move to computer administration of questionnaires and/or you are involved in designing self-assessment exercise for students who will have a realistic chance to respond on a PC then the new version of ? Mark for Windows sounds like the right thing for you and may offer some very exciting options to generate a whole new set of stimuli for assessment of personality, mood, defences etc. using graphics and video in the questions. However, if you are, like me, still looking for something to generate really nice paper questionnaires and look after validated input and export to .DBF format (or some such) then you need to go on looking. Does anyone out there have solutions they want to recommend to the rest of us?

Chris Evans [Page 10 in printed version] [return to index]

What the statistician said to the psychologist

Everitt & Hay (1992) Talking about statistics. A psychologist's guide to data analysis. London: Edward Arnold. 130pp. £13.99 paperback.

I'm permanently on the look out for good books to recommend to junior psychiatrists who are phobic, deluded or just pig ignorant about statistics. This isn't the book I'm looking for but it is an interesting book. The two authors, a statistician and a research psychologist, rôle play a fictional research consultation sequence. They admit that the result is a bit of a burlesque as far as the human touch is concerned but they do manage to cover exploratory and graphical analyses of pilot data, observational and experimental study design, hypothesis testing and statistical power, a little on reliability and bias, group comparisons by parametric univariate and multivariate methods and non-parametric methods, analysis of covariance, repeated measures, logistic regression and survival analysis and a very skimpy introduction to factor analysis and latent variable modelling. There are minimal mathematical explanations of some of the theoretical background to their topics in boxes that the phobic reader could skip until a second reading. There is nothing on software and how the actual crunching is done which is perhaps appropriate. It's a bit of a smörgåsbord but it may be a good way to refresh the basics and get to grips with some things that are unlikely to be covered in undergraduate statistical courses for medical students or psychologists (or anyone else). My main criticism is that I think it's too expensive for its meagre page count but I guess that dates me. I'd be interested to hear from anyone else who's read it.

Chris Evans [Page 10 in printed version] [return to index]

The bootstrap manoeuvre and the true meaning of life

Hjorth (1994) Computer intensive statistical methods. Validation, model selection and bootstrap. London: Chapman & Hall. 263pp. £24.99 hardback.

Efron & Tibshirani (1993) Introduction to the bootstrap. London: Chapman & Hall. 436pp. £24.99 hardback.

The bootstrap method is one of a number of highly computationally intensive statistical approaches. In some ways the permutation or randomization test method, which is mentioned in both these books, is even more applicable to psychotherapy research than are the bootstrap and jackknife methods which they cover more extensively. One appeal of all three methods is that they can be very robust to distribution and measurement quality if these issues are considered carefully. Another is that they can sometimes give distributional parameters that allow hypothesis tests and generation of confidence intervals for experimental or observational designs that may have mathematical solutions at present. Permutation and randomization methods do not adopt a frequentist, random sampling model so they are sometimes particularly applicable to psychotherapy and other non-experimental research. By contrast the real theoretical strength of the bootstrap and jackknife methods still rests on the model of sampling from large or infinite populations. Ah well, you can't have everything.

These two books sounded like the introductions to the methods I needed. The second is undoubtedly going to be the standard textbook about the bootstrap for some years to come, the other, at first, looked as if it would be more digestible. In fact neither book proved very digestible. Both are written by serious statisticians for serious statisticians despite protestations to the contrary. Neither have, as they say proudly in their introductions, dwelt much on the mathematical proofs. However, both do lean heavily on mathematical notation and introduce it fast. I felt that less terse symbols would have been helpful. Hjorth covers a number of areas in a rather jumpy way. I was convinced that he described some profound problems about the bias in stepwise approaches to regression. That is not new. However, I had a sense that his approach to the problem was more rigorous than the general message that such methods were "not pukka" which has been around for years. I also had a sense that his suggested solutions sounded potentially unbiased and superior to existing methods but I couldn't really explain them to someone or implement them after reading this book.

Efron & Tibshirani are less catholic in their coverage and stick pretty closely to the bootstrap after starting really well by setting up a general model for the process of statistical testing and modelling into which traditional distributional models and bootstrap and jackknife models can be seen to link with each other. Unfortunately from about chapter 8 in which they introduce "more complicated data structures", the logical progression of the book seemed to fall apart to me. After that (there are 26 chapters and an appendix) my comprehension and irritation phased in and out in a rather syncopated rhythm. I am actually very glad I ploughed through the book and I have found I can implement some of the most complicated bits in a rather insightless way using SAS and SAS/IML. (Efron & Tibshirani offer some S or S Plus algorithms in their appendix but these seemed to me to entirely omit the bits of code that one particularly needed in order to use or understand them. Since I don't use, or have access to, S or S Plus maybe I shouldn't leap to conclusions there though. However, I think one conclusion that is fair is that the book would have been much better for the inclusion of a series of appendices discussing ways of implementing bootstrap methods in the major packages such as SAS. Certainly it's more difficult in these packages than in S/S Plus but it would be easier for more of us to understand. It would also probably be wise to give working code in other statistical languages such as LISP-STAT, GAUSS, MATLAB & Mathematica.)

We will need widespread and usable implementations of these methods in mainstream statistical packages but we also need to understand their logic otherwise they'll become just another family of statistical methods that researchers, particularly "psycho" researchers, abuse. Unfortunately I don't think these are the books we non-statisticians need to put us on the right route. If you're really keen on stats. and willing to think hard and believe you really need to know about the bootstrap then read Efron & Tibshirani skipping where you find you're stuck. After all, a book that has "life, true meaning of" pointing to page 437 in its index seems to sanction some skipping!

Chris Evans [Pages 10 to 11 in printed version] [return to index]

Discourse analysis and other qualitative methods

Potter & Wetherell (1987) Discourse and social psychology. Beyond attitudes and behaviour. London: Sage. 216pp. £11.95 softback.

This is not a new book but I came across it recently and thought it should get a note in Network as it is a thought provoking counter to the quantitative, quasi-experimental approaches which tend to dominate SPR meetings. The authors' are totally committed to qualitative methods, particularly discourse analyses. Throughout the book they seem to struggle to hide their contempt for quantitative methods and anything approaching positivist epistemological stances. They fail and the contempt is palpable but I didn't feel that the all I learned about qualitative discourse methods was by denigration of the methods I currently use. That's a big improvement on some work in this tradition.

They start with a thorough summary of the roots of discourse analysis in speech act theory, in psycholinguistics, particularly Chomsky's ideas, in ethnomethodology and in semiology. They then run through a number of different qualitative approaches including ethnogenic research, conversational account analyses, Gergen et al on the ideological self, discourse and categorization of speech acts. Finally they discuss the idea of social repertoires and have a summary chapter called simply "How to analyze discourse". They then finish with a chapter on controversial issues including ideas of an "inner world", the status of an "outer world" and the problems of reflexivity.

The book is not a particularly easy read and I felt the presentation was biased and perhaps disingenuous about many of the problems that discourse methods create for the politics and social structure of "science", "research" and academe generally. However, they don't entirely dodge the fact that there are problems. Furthermore, they make good of real research examples from the different methodological traditions. The themes include work on ethnicity and culture in New Zealand and analyses of discourses of "science". These give an intriguing flavour of how the different theories and methods approach social interaction, particularly how they respect individuality, apparent incoherence and idiosyncracy. Since I believe that aspects of individuality, incoherence and idiosyncratic language lie near the heart of much psychodynamic and humanist psychotherapy that seemed to me to hold some promise for us in S.P.R.

In summary, I think this is a good book if you're willing to work with it and not rise at some of the oversimplifications of the problems both of quantitative and qualitative methods it purveys. Certainly to me it makes the final plenary session that was staged at York on introducing rigour into qualitative psychotherapy research look complacent and unconstructive. There will be many painful battles and problems to be addressed if S.P.R. is really going to link up with the more radical, and the more creative, qualitativists. However, I suspect we need their ideas. I'd recommend reading this step as a first step, or an early step, toward these methods to those who are interested.

Chris Evans [Pages 11 to 12 in printed version] [return to index]

Postscript: more deadlines!

The next international meeting is in Vancouver, B.C., Canada next summer. Submissions have to be in by December 15 and they should be sent to the President-Elect (whose job is to organize the up-and-coming conference):

Klaus Grawe, PhD,
Institute for Psychology,
University of Bern,
Muesmattstrasse 45,
CH-3012 Bern,

That may sound a bit illogical but it's right (the hawk-eyed amongst you will remember Clara Hill as incoming President organized the conference in York). Both Michael and I have mislaid our information about submissions, you should all have had them in the International SPR circular I think. Our recollection is that if it is a PANEL, then there should be no more than 3 presentations and there should be a page summary for each presentation PLUS a summary of the whole panel. If it is a PAPER submission, then a paper must be submitted (we think between 10 and 20 pages). No presenter should be first presenter on more than 2 paper/panels. We don't recall any requirements re formatting, etc. If you have lost your information too then get in touch with either Michael or myself.

The other big deadline approaching is for your submissions for the next edition of Network: they should start arriving on my desk within a week of you getting this and the last to have a chance to get in should arrive about three weeks after the end of Ravenscar!

On a more serious note: the Mental Health Foundation are prioritizing a core battery of change measures; therapist competence; health economics of psychotherapy in their next psychotherapy research funding round. They are on 0171-580 0145 and the closing date for submissions is the 1st of Feb. 1995.

Finally, I said last time I'd say something about Email in this edition. Well, since then it seems that every respectable newspaper has carried things about how to get onto the INTERNET so I won't! If people still want to know more, let me know!

Chris Evans [Page 12 in printed version] [return to index]

If you have read this far [and live in Britain] and are not an S.P.R.[U.K.] member, now's the time to change that!

Please pick up the 'phone now and ring Dr. Jane Knowle's secretary, Sue Clarke on:

01734 569444

and remedy the situation. Then put an abstract in for the Ravenscare meeting, start working out where the money will come from to get you to the meeting whether you present or now, and, ... we'll see you there!

[HTML readers (24.iv.95): there's always 1996 Ravenscar, and submitting something for the next issue of NETWORK see EDITORIAL and REVIEWS WANTED . Now, please let me know more: Chris Evans Email : ME! [if your HTML browser doesn't support "mailto:" then use a mail package and send to: C.Evans@sghms.ac.uk] [Page 12 in printed version] [return to index]