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Boesky, D. (1998). Clinical Evidence and Multiple Models: New Responsibilities. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(4):1013-1020.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(4):1013-1020

Clinical Evidence and Multiple Models: New Responsibilities

Dale Boesky

In the present era of psychoanalytic pluralism, we should now be increasingly aware of the added complexities and evidential responsibilities that arise with multiple models. We must ask, in particular, whether the proliferation of two-person models has overburdened our already inadequate one-person methodology. A major reason for the introduction of two-person models has been the need for a better description of the analyst's role as a participant in the clinical interaction, a role that is neglected seriously in the structural model. The appearance of these new models does not signal theoretical disarray. It is inherent in the evolution of any scientific enterprise that differing models will arise and that to succeed they must survive the challenge of evidential scrutiny. Each of these new theories claims to define what events are to be explained and indeed what counts as an explanation (Grossman 1995).

It is well to remember that evidential challenges must be met equally by all our theoretical models, old or new. This may be harder to accept than is recognized by those satisfied to throw out the baby of evidence with the bath of positivism. What follows is not an argument for uniformity. Instead I suggest that we can better apply our many new theories if we consider their evidential responsibility as well as their virtues.

Correspondence Criteria and Contextualization

What a patient says can mean just about anything, depending on how the analyst decides to contextualize the patient's associations. The extraordinary degree of resultant ambiguity has always “justified” polarized, either/or misunderstandings and fostered polemics.

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