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Eckardt, M.H. (2007). Preface to Barbara Young's “The Efficacy of Psychoanalysis and the Analytic Therapies: Reflections of a Psychoanalyst and her Former Patients”. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 35(2):313.

(2007). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 35(2):313

Preface to Barbara Young's “The Efficacy of Psychoanalysis and the Analytic Therapies: Reflections of a Psychoanalyst and her Former Patients”

Marianne H. Eckardt, M.D.

Erik Kandel challenged the psychoanalytic community when he wrote in the March 27, 2006, edition of Newsweek: “I think [psychoanalysis] is going down the tubesif the psychoanalytic community does not make a seriouseffort to verify its concepts and show which aspects of therapy work, under what conditions, for what patients, and with which therapist.”

Barbara Young rose to the challenge, hoping that her article will stimulate other therapists to write similar summaries of their work and contributeto the formation of a data bank of therapeutic results that will eventually prove to the scientific community the validity of what we do. It is a courageous pioneering effort. Her groupings and statistics are informal. She contacted as many patients as she could, asking them for an evaluation of their treatment. It is her belief that the most important element in evaluating success in the forward movement of any treatment modality is the strength of the working connection between patient and therapist: how much of the therapeutic dialogue was internalized and thus strengthened the patient's ability to relate to others and to meet crises constructively. Her “collection of stories” of some of her patients well demonstrates that “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

It is my hope that others will follow Young's lead. In the past, we have shied away from such an endeavor, being discouraged because we could not follow the standard hard scientific model of proof and evaluation. This author had the courage to find an informal but acceptable format that is compatible with our work. Other efforts may have to find their own design, time frame, diagnostic groupings, criteria of success, and emphases. Many thanks to Barbara Young for leading the way.

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