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Wolff, H. (1988). The Relationship between Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis: Attitudes and Aims. Brit. J. Psychother., 5(2):178-185.

(1988). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 5(2):178-185

The Relationship between Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis: Attitudes and Aims

Heinz Wolff

The question which this conference has been asked to address is what are the similarities and differences between psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy? Psychoanalysis has had a great influence on the development of many forms of psychotherapy and is, of course, directly responsible for the origin of psychoanalytic psychotherapy as we know it today. The question of how these two forms of psychotherapy differ from each other is of importance not only on theoretical grounds but much more so to all those who are in need of psychotherapy and hence to all therapists, analysts included, who have to advise them on their choice of treatment.

If psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy were as different from each other as, for example, psychoanalysis and desensitisation as practised by behaviour therapists or, to give an example from medicine, between two different antibiotics, it would be relatively easy to define their differences. The fact is that they have a great deal in common and could be seen as two ends of a continuous spectrum with full five times a week psychoanalysis at one, and once weekly analytical psychotherapy at the other end of the spectrum (Brown & Pedder 1979). This makes it unrealistic to compare them as if they were two entirely different methods of treatment.

Moreover, a psychoanalyst may practise analysis with some patients and psychoanalytic psychotherapy with others; or the same therapist may function more as an analyst at some times and more as an analytical psychotherapist at others with the same patient.

[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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