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Tuckett, D. (1994). The Conceptualisation and Communication of Clinical Facts in Psychoanalysis—Foreword. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:865-870.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:865-870

The Conceptualisation and Communication of Clinical Facts in Psychoanalysis—Foreword

David Tuckett

The choice of theme for this anniversary publication is born of a considerable sense of dissatisfaction, tempered, oddly enough, by optimism about the possibilities for its remedy. Psychoanalysis today, to judge by what we know of both theory and practice, is in a state of considerable ferment. We have schools of analysis which appear to be entirely at odds with one another. We have extreme forms of relativism. We have major departures from the core clinical setting, so that five-times-a-week, lying-down-on-the-couch etc. treatment is now apparently rare. We have fashionable and charismatic movements. We have optimism and anxiety about the very future of our profession, the latter fuelled by a sense sometimes that 'anything goes' and that the criteria for determining standards have been undermined.

The last twenty-five years, in particular, have seen the flowering of new thinking and new ideas in our discipline, described by the term pluralism. This may be unsettling and it certainly poses problems, but I am glad it is happening. It provides us, it seems to me, with an opportunity to review how far our discipline can respond to the challenge of developing a framework which permits judgements to be made about the value of these ideas for what we do. For too long, and too often, psychoanalysts have tended to conduct arguments in a manner more ideological than subject to reason. Arguments warranted by reference to authority, arguments derived from analogy or metaphor, the canonisation and 'Indexing' of texts, and a certain tendency towards isolationism from other disciplines relevant to our field, have been standard features of our discipline.

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