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Richards, A.D. Richards, A.K. (1995). Notes on Psychoanalytic Theory and Its Consequences for Technique. J. Clin. Psychoanal., 4(4):429-456.

(1995). Journal of Clinical Psychoanalysis, 4(4):429-456

Notes on Psychoanalytic Theory and Its Consequences for Technique Related Papers

Arnold D. Richards, M.D. and Arlene Kramer Richards, ED.D.

In this paper we will explore the relationship between psychoanalytic theory and psychoanalytic technique. We are interested in pursuing two questions: (1) Does theory have technical consequences? If so, what are they? (2) Can theories be compared? We are mindful of the state of our field and the nature of current psychoanalytic debates about theoretical pluralism versus common ground, paradigm competition versus paradigm integration, and theory evolution versus theory revolution.

We will begin with a clinical example which we will use to show that our technique has been determined by our informing theory. Critics have called this theory Freudian theory, drive theory, one person psychology, classical or orthodox psychoanalysis, or the theory of the isolated mind. Other characterizations refer to a nonrelational, noninteractionist, and nonconstructivist and positivist approach. They add that it is noninterpersonal, neutral rather than empathic, asymmetrical rather than symmetrical, authoritarian rather than democratic, and conflict-centered versus deficit-centered. They also point out that it is focused on internal psychic reality rather than on real trauma, real events, and the here-and-now. In addition, this theory is said to view transference as a distortion rather than as a response to the real qualities and actions of the analyst.

We characterize our approach as modern conflict theory. Our key theoretical constructs are conflict, compromise formation, and unconscious fantasy.

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