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Busch, F.N. Milrod, B.L. Rudden, M. Shapiro, T. Roiphe, J. Singer, M. Aronson, A. (2001). How Treating Psychoanalysts Respond to Psychotherapy Research Constraints. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 49(3):961-983.

(2001). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 49(3):961-983

How Treating Psychoanalysts Respond to Psychotherapy Research Constraints

Fredric N. Busch, Barbara L. Milrod, Marie Rudden, Theodore Shapiro, Jean Roiphe, Meriamne Singer and Andrew Aronson

The psychoanalytic community increasingly recognizes the importance of research on psychoanalytic treatments, yet a significant number of psychoanalysts continue to believe that research is either irrelevant to psychoanalysis or impossible to accomplish. Psychoanalysts who acceptthe value of research express concern that intrusions required by research protocols create significant distortions in the psychoanalytic process. The authors, all psychoanalysts, are studying the outcome of a brief (twenty-four-session) psychodynamic treatment of panic disorder. They report their experiences and struggles with the intrusions of videotaping, working with a treatment manual, and time-limited treatment. This research process required them to question old beliefs and to confront feelings of disloyalty toward their analytic training and identity, particularly with regard to keeping a “clean field” and routinely performing long-term analysis of character. The therapists' psychoanalytic knowledge, however, emerged as crucial for them in managing specific research constraints. Despite concerns about providing inadequate treatment, therapists were found to engage patients with psychoanalytic tools and focus in vibrant and productive therapies that led to significant improvements in panic symptoms and associated quality of life. The authors suggest that psychoanalysts have been overestimating the potential damage of research constraints on psychoanalytic process and outcome.

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