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(1960). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VI, 1958: The Art and Science of Psychoanalysis. Thomas M. French. Pp. 197-214.. Psychoanal Q., 29:426-427.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VI, 1958: The Art and Science of Psychoanalysis. Thomas M. French. Pp. 197-214.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:426-427

Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VI, 1958: The Art and Science of Psychoanalysis. Thomas M. French. Pp. 197-214.

French suggests a more scientific approach in the admittedly intuitive art of psychoanalysis. He seeks a method with better checks and balances, emphasizing especially the adverse effects on intuition of countertransference problems and the utilization of free-floating attention. As a guiding principle in therapy he recommends adhering to the 'focal' conflict of the patient, that is, that conflict which at the moment has been most intensely cathected by the patient. The focal conflict, related to current reality, is usually preconscious though it has unconscious connections and it may or may not be directly related to the nuclear conflict of the patient. If an interpretation is made at the level of the focal conflict, it will have most meaning to the patient at that moment, and the effects of the interpretation will be easier to predict as no peripheral factors will be activated which can lead to less understandable reactions in the patient. The interpretation itself will then serve as a stimulus for further material and a chain of interpretations

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and responses will be started. Since it should be possible to predict the effect of the interpretation beforehand, this can be checked with the subsequent material and an accurate evaluation of the analyst's understanding can be made. In this way the results of the therapy can be measured more scientifically. The author recognizes the possible pitfalls in being more actively expectant in treatment and emphasizes that the basic rule of following the patient's free associations remains primary.

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Article Citation

(1960). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VI, 1958. Psychoanal. Q., 29:426-427

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