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Ramzy, I. Shevrin, H. (1976). The Nature of the Inference Process in Psychoanalytic Interpretation: A Critical Review of the Literature. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 57:151-159.

(1976). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 57:151-159

The Nature of the Inference Process in Psychoanalytic Interpretation: A Critical Review of the Literature

Ishak Ramzy and Howard Shevrin

From a careful study of the literature it was noted that 'Unbelievable as it may sound, in the whole vast library of psychoanalysis—clinical, theoretical, technical or applied—there are hardly any references which outline the logical guidelines or the methodological rules which the analyst follows in order to understand his patient' (Ramzy, 1974).

In what follows, a number of papers dealing with the method of arriving at psychoanalytic interpretations and not with the technique of using them will be reviewed to explain the aforementioned assertion and its effect on the rate of progress in psychoanalytic theory, practice and education.

In one of the earliest articles on the subject, Isaacs (1939) states 'The analyst is in need of clear criteria by which to test the validity of his convictions.' Indeed, this is especially important when scientific substance of the discipline is taken into account. In particular, Isaacs stresses with exemplary rigour that 'no hypothesis or conclusions can be evaluated except by reference to the methods upon which they are based' (p. 148) and that 'in the last resort differences of opinion as to fact and theory largely come down to differences of method, methods of discovery and methods of testing and verification' (p. 148).

According to Isaacs, the analyst arrives at his understanding of the analysand's behaviour through what she refers to as the 'perception of unconscious meaning' (p. 149).

One may wonder how Isaacs conceives of perception, especially those perceptions required in analysis.

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