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Beland, H. (1994). Validation in the Clinical Process: Four Settings for Objectification of the Subjectivity of Understanding. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:1141-1158.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:1141-1158

Validation in the Clinical Process: Four Settings for Objectification of the Subjectivity of Understanding

Hermann Beland


Clinical material is presented for discussion with the aim of exemplifying the author's conceptions of validation in a number of sessions and in psychoanalytic research and of making them verifiable, susceptible to consensus and/or falsifiable. Since Freud's postscript to the Dora case, the first clinical validation in the history of psychoanalysis, validation has been group-related and society-related, that is to say, it combines the evidence of subjectivity with the consensus of the research community (the scientific community). Validation verifies the conformity of the unconscious transference meaning with the analyst's understanding. The deciding criterion is the patient's reaction to the interpretation. In terms of the theory of science, validation in the clinical process corresponds to experimental testing of truth in the sphere of inanimate nature. Four settings of validation can be distinguished: the analyst's self-supervision during the process of understanding, which goes from incomprehension to comprehension (container-contained, PS—>D, selected fact); the patient's reaction to the interpretation (insight) to the interpretation (insight) and the analyst's assessment of the reaction; supervision and second thoughts; and discussion in groups and publications leading to consensus. It is a peculiarity of psychoanalytic research that in the event of positive validation the three criteria of truth (evidence, consensus and utility) coincide.

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