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Kris, A.O. (1983). The Analyst's Conceptual Freedom in the Method of Free Association. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 64:407-411.

(1983). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 64:407-411

The Analyst's Conceptual Freedom in the Method of Free Association

Anton O. Kris


Anna Freud's observation of the loss entailed in the progress from the topographical to the structural theory is taken as the starting point of a discussion of the relationship between psychoanalytic theory and the psychoanalytic method. The discussion considers the dangers of misapplying theories in the clinical situation and the disadvantages of defining the method and aims of psychoanalytic treatment and investigation in theoretical terms. A focus on free association, with systematic initial formulation based on an operational rather than a theoretical framework, preserves the analyst's conceptual freedom while it permits further articulation with the wide range of psychoanalytic theoretical propositions. The problem of theoretical bias on the analyst's part can be lessened or even solved by moving with restraint from the associations to the formulations rather than in the opposite direction and by systematic attention to the sequences and patterns of the associations.

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