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Janowitz, N. (2011). The Talking Cure as Action: Freud's Theory of Ritual Revisited. Am. J. Psychoanal., 71(3):217-237.

(2011). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 71(3):217-237

The Talking Cure as Action: Freud's Theory of Ritual Revisited

Naomi Janowitz, Ph.D.

Freud made creative use of late Victorian theories of ritual as empty modes of behavior, using the idea of “seemingly meaningless” ritual to offer a compelling comparison with obsessive behavior. However, analytic hours, with their repetitive frame and repetition of unconscious conflicts, have stronger links with rituals than Freud admitted. Recent theories highlight the extensive power of rituals to organize and instantiate models of effective action, especially in terms of the multifunctionality of language. These new theories of ritual offer in turn new tools for understanding the therapeutic action of analytic hours.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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