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Widlöcher, D. (2010). Daniel Wildlöcher's Response to F. Busch and H. Kächele. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 91(1):59-61.

(2010). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 91(1):59-61

Daniel Wildlöcher's Response to F. Busch and H. Kächele Related Papers Language Translation

Daniel Widlöcher

The criteria that help us to establish links and differences between psychoanalysis and psychotherapy are obviously still very much the subject of debate.

For his part, Kächele emphasizes the fact that this derives from the ambiguity that was typical of Freud's approach to the question. For Busch, the issue is every bit as important for contemporary psychoanalysis as it was in the past — and, he maintains, it will be even more central in the future. They both argue — and I completely agree with them here — that our approach to this question ought to be in terms of dimensions rather than of categories. Instead of attempting to individualize methods and forms of treatment (ranging from psychoanalysis stricto sensu to ‘supportive’ psychotherapies), it would be better to say that each particular case lies somewhere between the ‘psychoanalytic’ dimension and its ‘psychotherapeutic’ counterpart, depending on the objectives pursued — from the discovery of unconscious formations all the way through to the lifting of symptoms. I would argue that what is fundamentally at stake here is how we define and understand the processes that enable us to characterize the variables that are to be taken into account.

Kächele suggests an approach that is above all empirical. He speaks of quantitative criteria — although, to my mind, he does not define these sufficiently clearly. Does this mean that they are indeed too complex, and that we have therefore to be satisfied with what each psychoanalyst sees as appropriate for any given patient? Kächele draws a parallel between this empirical flexibility — which is indeed essential — and the pluralism of practice and theory that is so much a feature of contemporary psychoanalysis.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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