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Waldhorn, H.F. (1960). Assessment of Analyzability: Technical and Theoretical Observations. Psychoanal Q., 29:478-506.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:478-506

Assessment of Analyzability: Technical and Theoretical Observations

Herbert F. Waldhorn, M.D.

The technical problems of assessing analyzability and the related theoretical problems of establishing specific criteria of analyzability have commanded increasing attention in recent years. This problem has been sharpened by the difficulties encountered by intake committees of the various treatment centers and analytic clinics in dealing with the increased demand for therapy. Similar questions are involved in the task of assigning suitable patients for supervised analysis, and many of these considerations also bear upon selection of candidates for analytic training. While there are many references in the literature to the wide variety of clinical and theoretical phenomena believed to be relevant to these questions, no integrated discussion of these problems seems now available.

In reviewing the literature on this subject, one is struck by the necessity for bearing in mind the historical evolution and maturation of psychoanalytic theory and technique. In the early years indications for analysis often ranged from what we still know to be sound to the bizarre and trivial. Within the theoretical framework of that time, a great deal that was considered proper analytic technique included such nonanalytic interventions as direct suggestion and manipulation of transference. Inadequate understanding of the full interplay between analyst and patient led to many misvaluations of clinical experience and, accordingly, to many contributions to the literature, the signifiance and relevance of which are difficult to assess.

Freud referred to the question of analyzability in a number of papers written between 1904 and 1924.

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