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Martin, A.R. (1966). Emphasis on the Healthy Aspects of the Patient in Psychoanalysis. Am. J. Psychoanal., 26(2):201-206.

(1966). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 26(2):201-206

Emphasis on the Healthy Aspects of the Patient in Psychoanalysis Related Papers

Alexander Reid Martin, M.D.

My contribution to this panel stems from my intense interest in this whole subject and my strong belief that it represents an all-important trend in psychotherapy. I have given this topic a considerable degree of thought and I appreciate this opportunity to share my observations and ruminations with you.

My first general and somewhat discursive reactions are as follows:

a)   I am immediately reminded of Henry Sigerest, former Professor of The History of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Hospital, who used to say, “Let us begin with the study of healthy man.”

b)   We must stop taking the pulse of weakness; let us begin to take the measure of strength.

c)   The best way to prevent disease is to promote health.

d)   To give analytic priority to the healthy aspect of the patient, we must shift our primary allegiance from Aesculapius, the God of Medicine, to Hygeia, the Goddess of Health.

e)   Too many psychoanalysts are oriented only to pathology, and know the signs of disease better than the signs of health.

f)   A study of pathological states is instructive and necessary, but much can be learned, too, from health.

Centuries of conditioning, and all the age-old associations of the doctor as a magic healer constantly get in the analyst's way. Our patient is by his upbringing inclined to emphasize his disease, to justify

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