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Balint, M. (1955). Notes on Parapsychology and Parapsychological Healing. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 36:31-35.

(1955). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 36:31-35

Notes on Parapsychology and Parapsychological Healing

Michael Balint


I think it is fair to say that a number of experienced analysts have met episodes in their practice which have struck them as probable cases of telepathy or extrasensory perception (called E.S.P.). Quite often these apparent cases of E.S.P. when subjected to a searching scrutiny reveal possibilities of other mechanisms, such as the emergence of a forgotten piece of memory already communicated; an interpretation of the analyst's behaviour, sentiments, or thoughts, by the patient based partly on consciously observed and partly on not quite consciously observed facts; the unexpected appearance in consciousness of identification with the analyst, based on intensive transference and counter-transference; the analyst projecting his own emotional involvement into the patient's material and interpreting it in this sense; analyst and patient who share experiences far beyond what can be expressed in words, coming unexpectedly to identical conclusions, etc.

To show what I mean I wish to report an event which, although almost certainly not a case of telepathy or precognition, illustrates some of the complications involved in clinical observations of this kind. In 1938, when the Szondi test was still in its experimental stages, and only very few people knew about it, I became interested and experimented with it myself. One evening when there was a party in my house we came to talk about this new test, and two sisters, not very closely acquainted with me, volunteered to be guinea-pigs.

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