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Novey, S. (1966). The Sense of Reality and Values of the Analyst as a Necessary Factor in Psycho-Analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 47:492-501.

(1966). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 47:492-501

The Sense of Reality and Values of the Analyst as a Necessary Factor in Psycho-Analysis

Samuel Novey


The use of the reality and the value judgements of the analyst are essential contributions on his part to the analytic process. While many analysts would take exception to this principle on theoretical grounds, they employ these faculties in their actual work with patients. Much of this derives from the assumption that certain character traits are inevitably necessary in the analyst and, since they lack uniqueness, the tendency has been not to subject them to careful study. An attempt has been made to clarify this issue through a consideration of the kinds of person who are more likely to become capable analysts.

Depending upon the stage of the analytic process, the analyst may choose to behave in a variety of different ways. His choice of behaviour, all the way from silence to elaborate questions, to clarifications, and to interpretations, are determined by his appraisal of the nature and intensity of the patient's dynamic conflicts. Concurrently the analyst must come to some decision both as to the nature of the various mental institutions, which of them may be distorted, what his best estimate of the economics of the situation are, and how a more functional and adaptive person may be created. In the process of this the environment is also appraised by the analyst and is one additional factor, along with the others, that enters into his estimate of personality function. Inevitably the analyst must use his judgement of the presence or absence of neurosis as a crucial factor in estimating the presence or absence of an average expectable environment since he cannot, by the nature of his work make a first-hand investigation of it.

Emphasis has been placed on the increasing freedom from neurosis on the patient's part, his consequent better reporting of reality, and his valid attempts to engage in adaptive behaviour as cues by which the analyst makes reality and value judgements about the external environment.

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