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McLaughlin, F. (1963). Some Considerations for the Further Development of Psycho-Analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 44:454-460.

(1963). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 44:454-460

Some Considerations for the Further Development of Psycho-Analysis

Francis McLaughlin

Psycho-analysis, like Caesar's Gaul, is divided into three parts: a method of therapy; a technique for investigation of psychological processes; and a theory of mental functioning, including health as well as illness. In terms of the last, it is a general theory of psychology. The second and third functions have, in some quarters, been displaced by the first, and this has had a detrimental effect on the broadest development of psycho-analysis as a discipline. A consequence of this increased emphasis on psycho-analysis as therapy has been a proportionate weighting of this aspect in the training programme. The special problems resulting from this latter development will also be considered in this paper.

What has produced the emphasis on the therapeutic aspects of psycho-analysis at the expense of its other functions? This derives from a number of factors: the greater general acceptance of psycho-analytic ideas with the resultant tendency towards dogmatism, social pressures for treatment, and the close union, in America, of psycho-analysis with psychiatry and medicine, with their natural emphasis on treatment. It is also related to current cultural emphasis on what is 'practical' or 'applied', as opposed to basic research. This is a theme which will be further elaborated.

It is not necessary to minimize the therapeutic aspects of psycho-analysis in order to maximize its broader aspects as a technique and a theory of mental functioning. It is in the clinical endeavours particularly that we establish the basic groundwork.

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