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Jokl, R.H. (1927). The Mobilizing of the Sense of Guilt—A Contribution to the Problem of Active Therapy. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 8:479-485.

(1927). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 8:479-485

The Mobilizing of the Sense of Guilt—A Contribution to the Problem of Active Therapy

Robert Hans Jokl

A considerable extension of the technique of psycho-analysis has been made by the methods of 'active' intervention recommended by Ferenczi for use in certain definitely circumscribed cases. Hitherto, however, no one has succeeded in formulating a satisfactory theoretical explanation of the way in which 'active therapy' operates. It is therefore very natural that, in practice, analysts should be tempted to employ the new technique either with hesitation and in rare instances only, or else, relying on the authority of Ferenczi, too frequently and indiscriminately. A technical innovation of this sort appears specially important when we consider what an enormous gain it would be from the social standpoint if prognosis could be improved and time and money thus be saved. I think it is not inopportune for me to communicate certain experiences which seem to give some insight into the necessary conditions for the employment of the new method and into the sphere of its application.

When we speak of 'active' measures we shall mainly be thinking of processes by which mental functions are mobilized and turned to account so as to result in progress when the work of analysis is inhibited and so as to get rid of resistances. Analysis has taught us that one of the most important of these factors is the unconscious sense of guilt, which, in Freud's opinion, plays a decisive part in many neuroses from the economic point of view. So long as its sources are unrecognized, it acts as the most obstinate resistance to the progress and efficacy of the analysis. On the other hand, if we succeed in uncovering it and directing it at least in part into the transference, we shall bring about the renunciation of the symptom which covers the sense of guilt. Freud is not very encouraging in what he says about the likelihood of the analysis succeeding in this part of his therapeutic work. Any means, therefore, which seems to offer a possibility of getting over this difficulty must be the more welcome.


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