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Lossy, F.T. (1962). The Charge of Suggestion as a Resistance in Psycho-Analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 43:448-467.

(1962). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 43:448-467

The Charge of Suggestion as a Resistance in Psycho-Analysis

Frank T. Lossy

I. Introduction

Ever since Freud first evolved the technique of psycho-analysis as a therapy from its predecessor, hypnosis, there have been waves of controversy about the extent to which psycho-analytic treatment utilizes suggestion to achieve its therapeutic results. This controversy received renewed impetus from the popularity in the early part of the twentieth century of Coué's system of self-improvement through suggestion. The charge that psycho-analysis was merely another form of suggestion therapy was one against which psycho-analysts took pains to defend themselves. Ida MacAlpine (22) has traced the historical aspect of this controversy around suggestion and suggestibility, and she points out that in some measure the obscurity on this subject was due to the broad scope of the term 'suggestion' as used by psycho-analysts. She cites as an example the fact that the term 'suggestion' was sometimes used interchangeably with the term 'transference', as in the following passage by Freud (11): 'It is quite true that psycho-analysis, like other psycho-therapeutic methods, works by means of suggestion, the difference being, however, that it (transference or suggestion) is not the decisive factor.' In response to the lack of clear distinctions between analysis and suggestion therapy, as well as in response to the denigrating comparisons, quite a few analytic contributions have addressed themselves to this topic either directly or in passing (2), (5), (6), (7), (11), (15), (16), (19), (27).

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