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Devereux, G. (1953). Cultural Factors in Psychoanalytic Therapy. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 1:629-655.

(1953). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 1:629-655

Cultural Factors in Psychoanalytic Therapy

George Devereux, Ph.D.

A technical discussion of the influence of cultural factors upon the course and technique of psychoanalytic therapy must begin with a preliminary analysis of the nature of culture, and of its fate in mental health, psychological illness, and psychoanalytic therapy. Since some of this material has already been touched upon in another study (11), it will be presented here only in a more or less axiomatic form.


Definition of Terms: In the following discussion we differentiate between homo sapiens or genus homo as a biological organism and man as a human being.

1. Homo sapiens is the current end product of an evolutionary process toward a high degree of differentiation and individualization. The principal and uniquely characteristic trait of homo sapiens —the "constant of human nature"—is the extreme plasticity and variability of his behavior.

2. The aforementioned four characteristics of genus homo: differentiation, individualization, plasticity, and variability of behavior, represent a unitary biological potentiality which is actualized in the acquisition of a distinctively human psyche and of culture.


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