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Bibliography Main Page [link]
Politics and Other Works

Interpersonal Perception

Interpersonal Perception: A Theory and a Method of Research
with H. Phillipson and A.R. Lee

Tavistock 1966
Little, Brown & Co. 1966
Harper and Row 1972


· Summary ·

Interpersonal Perception was published in 1966, and co-authored by Herbert Phillipson, chief psychologist at the Tavistock Clinic and, and Robert Lee, an American on a research fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health. The authors met biweekly for two years in the early sixties to discuss the ideas that would become Interpersonal Perception. The original idea to develop and apply the algebraic notation for the mapping of interpersonal perspectives first suggested by Martin Buber in The Knowledge of Man to the field of marital counseling. Laing had already made some preliminary contributions to this endeavor in Self and Others. Lee contributed the idea of creating a test to measure degrees of experiential convergence or disjunction between two people using this algebraic system, to identity areas of conflict and misunderstanding. Phillipson was primarily in charge of administrating and scoring the test. Laing wrote the first draft, Lee the second, and then Laing combined the two.

Though brilliant, this is also one of Laing's most schematic and difficult books to read. However, it is must reading for anyone interested in following the development Laing's evolving technique for "mapping" inter-experiential convergences and disjunctions from Self and Others to The Politics of the Family.


· Contents ·

Foreword by Marie Jahoda

Part One: Theory

I. Self and Other
II. Interaction and Interesperience in Dyads
III. The Spiral of Reciprocal Perpsectives

Part Two: Method

IV. Historical Review

V. Interpersonal Perception Method (IPM)
The issues. The two perspectives and their two directions. The four relationshipsas seen from each perpective. Metaperspectives and meta-metaperspectives. Thebasic schema of the IPM. Patterns of conjunction and disjuntion. Different possiblespirals in dyadic interaction.

VI. Disturbed and Nondisturbed Marriages
Comparison of disturbed and nondisturbed marriagesRetest reliability and internal consistency of the data.

VII. The Study of a Dyad
The pattern of interaction as a whole.The interaction within the separate categories of issues. Spirals in which there is complete conjunction. Spirals in which there is complete or nearly complete disjunction. Spiral No. 26. Discussion. therpaists' evaluation of the results of brief marital therapy. Tetest results after short-term therapy. An interpretation of clinical data.

VII. Developments

Part Three: The IPM Questions

IPM Chart: The Joneses


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