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Britton, R. (1983). Free Association. Method and Process: By Anton O. Kris. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1982. Pp. 113.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 10:114-115.

(1983). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 10:114-115

Free Association. Method and Process: By Anton O. Kris. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 1982. Pp. 113.

Review by:
Ronald Britton

'For me', Anton Kris writes, 'the central point in psychoanalysis is the commitment to the free association method'. In this book he makes clear that he measures progress by assessment of the freedom of association. He also regards it as a process providing a deep satisfaction which motivates the patient and he sees the goal of analysis to be the enhancement and enlargement of it. The way he writes suggests that he sees it as a thing of beauty. Consistent with this is his stated view that the method and data of analysis are superior to formulations of technique or theory. My impression is that he prefers practising psychoanalysis to writing about it. This may partly account for his lengthy illustrations and briefer, more sketchy conclusions. It also echoes his approach as an analyst which he describes as interrupting free association only in order to enhance it. He is at pains to emphasize the patient's freedom as all important and the minimalization of the analyst's authority as self-evidently desirable. Kris rather derides theory in the current fashion of some American analysts and promotes a psychoanalytic relativism of a relative kind, i.e. he says, 'In a world of proliferating psychological highways many roads, but certainly not all of them, will lead to Rome'. This seems to leave him free to espouse theories familiar and agreeable to him without asserting them and free to ignore others without opposing them.

The book contains an account of 'free association'; the factors opposing it and clinical illustrations.

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