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Hess, N. Gerrard, J. (2016). Hopelessness in the Analysis. Brit. J. Psychother., 32(1):132-133.

(2016). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 32(1):132-133


Hopelessness in the Analysis

Noel Hess and Jackie Gerrard

Dear Editor

I am writing to express my concern about the use of the term ‘analysis’ in the paper published in the August 2015 issue, ‘Hopelessness in the Analysis’. The therapeutic work referred to in this paper is once-weekly, which, as I understand it, is properly described as psychotherapy not psychoanalysis. I am aware of the considerable literature discussing the differentiation between psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, and while this is a controversial issue, I had understood that a defining feature of psychoanalysis is depth of emotional contact, made possible by a frequency of four or five sessions per week. I know it can be argued that equating depth of contact with a number (of session frequency) can seem arbitrary and simplistic, but in the main, we do, I think, assume that a relationship exists between frequency and intensity. I want to stress that I am not ascribing a value to either activity - I write as someone who practices both psychotherapy and psychoanalysis and view them as equally helpful. Nor am I criticising the content of this paper, which raises many interesting and important issues. My concern is with the misuse of the term ‘analysis’ in this paper. There is already considerable confusion in the mind of the public concerning the terms ‘therapy’ and analysis’, and I don't think it helps for us to add to that confusion.

Noel Hess

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist (BPF); Psychoanalyst (BPA)



Jackie Gerrard Replies:

Dear Editor

I am writing in response to Noel Hess's comments on my paper ‘Hopelessness in the Analysis’ and the fact that my use of the word ‘analysis’ caused him concern. However, I appreciate his drawing our attention to this, when I was citing work with two patients who were in once and, for a while, twice weekly psychotherapy.

My thoughts have been that the work created for the therapist by these patients, who have aroused such very intense counter-transference feelings, has demanded that I have to make constant use of my psychoanalytic mind.

[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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