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Freud, S. (1927). Concluding Remarks on the Question of Lay Analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 8:392-401.

(1927). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 8:392-401

Concluding Remarks on the Question of Lay Analysis

Sigmund Freud




The immediate occasion of my writing the short treatise which gave rise to the present discussion was the charge of quackery brought before the Viennese magistrates against our non-medical colleague, Dr. Th. Reik. It is probably generally known that the action was abandoned after all the preliminary investigations had been conducted and various expert opinions had been taken. I do not think that this result was the outcome of my publication; the case was probably too unfavourable for the prosecution, and the person who had complained of injury proved untrustworthy. The position adopted in the legal proceedings against Dr. Reik no doubt has not the significance of a decision of the Vienna Court of Justice on a point of principle in the matter of lay analysis. When I created the figure of the 'impartial listener' in the paper in which I put forward my views on the subject, I had in mind the personality of one of our high functionaries, a man of goodwill and unusual integrity, with whom I myself had had a conversation on the case of Reik, subsequently giving him at his request my private opinion as an expert. I knew that I had not succeeded in converting him to my view, and therefore I did not make my dialogue with the 'impartial person' end in an agreement between the two speakers.

Nor did I expect that I should succeed in producing among analysts themselves an attitude of unanimity towards the problem of lay analysis. Anyone who compares in the published Discussion the resolution of the Hungarian Society with that of the New York Branch will perhaps assume that my paper has accomplished nothing at all, that everyone continues firmly to hold the opinion which he previously advocated. But I do not think that this is so either. I believe that many of my colleagues will have moderated the extreme bias of their attitude and that the majority have accepted my view that the problem of lay analysis is not to be decided by reference to established customs, but has its origin in a novel situation and therefore demands a fresh judgement.

Further, the turn which I gave to the whole question seems to have commended itself.

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