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Lindzey, G. (1968). Psychoanalytic Theory: Paths of Change. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 49:656-661.

(1968). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 49:656-661

Psychoanalytic Theory: Paths of Change

Gardner Lindzey

In recent decades there have been few pastimes in academic psychology more popular than deciding what to do about psychoanalytic theory. Many years ago most members of the academy disposed of the problem by means of that most primitive of mechanisms—denial. With growing maturity a number of psychologists used the mechanism of isolation, accepting certain important concepts or ideas from the theory but effectively denying the surrounding intellectual and affective context, so they had little or no awareness of the origin of these ideas. Still others have utilized subsumesmanship, or the "nothing but" mechanism, pointing out that whatever is of merit in the theory is derivable from other more sanitary origins, or can be accounted for by more rigorous concepts. Most recently we have witnessed "identification with the aggressor" illustrated by apparently well-bred and rational psychologists swallowing the dogma whole and, in some cases, even going so far as to pronounce it nourishing.

In general, however, psychoanalytic theory has remained an obstinate foreign body in the craw of psychology which has responded neither to efforts to dissolve and metabolize, to regurgitate, or to excrete it. I am not about to propose an intellectual emetic or purgative but I do plan to examine some of the strategies that have been used in the effort to make psychoanalytic theory more digestible for psychologists.

What I am about to say accepts the enormous influence of psychoanalytic theory upon the contemporary social science scene and assumes, moreover, that it is possibly a theory of considerable predictive power for the personality investigator, clinician, or even general psychologist.

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