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Canestri, J. (2001). The 42nd International Psychoanalytical Association Congress, Nice, France, 2001: Foreword. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 82(1):119-121.
(2001). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 82(1):119-121
The 42nd International Psychoanalytical Association Congress, Nice, France, 2001: Foreword
The theme of the 42nd International Psychoanalytical Association Congress is Psychoanalysis: method and applications, and it touches upon the very essence of our discipline. The psychoanalytic method, like those of other scientific disciplines, responds to specific necessities and has characteristics that depend on the nature of the material to which it is applied.
In his well-known definition of our discipline, Freud writes:
Psycho-analysis is the name (1) of a procedure for the investigation of mental processes which are almost inaccessible in any other way, (2) of a method (based upon that investigation) for the treatment of neurotic disorders and (3) of a collection of psychological information obtained along those lines, which is gradually being accumulated into a new scientific discipline (1923, p. 235).
Method in psychoanalysis, as can be seen in Freud's definition, is intimately linked to the procedure that allows us to study unconscious mental processes.
In the second half of the last century psychoanalysis has significantly widened its scope of activities to a number of other situations that differ from the classical psychoanalytic practice and setting. This strikingly fertile development has had a powerful impact on many areas. It is for this same reason, although it is easy to find agreement on the centrality of the method, that its uniqueness is more debatable.
Psychoanalytic theory has evolved and diversified and it seems evident that the use of different theoretical models, to the extent that they propose different concepts of the instrument of observation or the use of a different instrument, inevitably affects the methodological empirical basis.
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