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Bally, G. (1966). Sociological Aspects of Psychoanalysis. Am. J. Psychoanal., 26:5-12.

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(1966). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 26(1):5-12

Sociological Aspects of Psychoanalysis

Gustav Bally, M.D.


sigmund freud wished psychoanalysis to be considered a natural science, and he himself saw it as such. But, this did not prevent it from being directly opposed to the traditional concept of medical therapy at that time. How was it possible that this psychoanalytic procedure, which was actually a new medical approach, was able to succeed against the powerful and successful traditional medicine?

Its success was certainly not due to its reception by traditional medicine. This reception was completely hostile, especially on the part of psychiatry. Only hesitatingly and against its will was medicine able to recognize psychoanalysis. It was much more the public demand for a new principle of treatment which determined the development and spread of psychoanalysis. This demand was not only for a new principle of treatment but for a new goal of health. We will be concerned here with this demand and its development.

We must become aware of the fundamental discrepancy between the therapeutic activity of psychoanalysis and the usual medical procedure. Psychoanalysis functions in an area which is without meaning for traditional medicine, namely, the area of language dialogue, of mutual understanding. This psychoanalytic relationship and the expectation of health connected with it must appear strange to medicine which manipulates the body of the patient to restore its functions.

First we will sketch the psychoanalytic principle. Analyst and patient are partners. Even in the first arrangements

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