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McLaughlin, J.T. (1961). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VIII. 1960: The Influence of Psychosomatic Research on the Psychoanalytic Process. Lawrence J. Roose. Pp. 317-334.. Psychoanal Q., 30:599-600.
    
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VIII. 1960: The Influence of Psychosomatic Research on the Psychoanalytic Process. Lawrence J. Roose. Pp. 317-334.

(1961). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 30:599-600

Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VIII. 1960: The Influence of Psychosomatic Research on the Psychoanalytic Process. Lawrence J. Roose. Pp. 317-334.

James T. McLaughlin

This study reports the course and outcome of a psychosomatic research project in which an effort to use psychoanalysis as the principle research tool was adversely influenced by the special requirements of the experimental approach. This multidisciplinary study of the asthma syndrome had as its focus a young, covertly depressed male asthmatic, whose symptoms, while uninfluenced by prolonged desensitization, were not accompanied by irreversible physical changes. Passively accepting the recommendation of analysis and aware of his involvement in a research project requiring tape recordings and repeated laboratory procedures, he sustained for over two years his resistance to the analytic process and the concept of psychic conflict, withdrawing from analysis when organic therapy was again available. Two important influencing factors could be delineated, parameters and contaminants. The parameters were: 1, nonpayment of fee; 2, the hospital setting in which were combined the physiological and analytic investigations; 3, the laboratory manipulations themselves; 4, the interaction with an experimental team of persons rather than with a single analyst. More important, however, were the contaminants: 1, analysis used as a research instrument; 2, selection of a patient because he has a symptom rather than because he seeks help with a problem; 3, subsidy of the analysis by a grant-in-aid; 4, recording of the analysis; 5, multiplicity of parameters. The patient had to compete with the research goal for attention. He split his transference reactions and objects among the several members of the project. The uncertainty of the length of subsidy of his analysis furnished a reality re-enforcement of strong resistances. Recording of his verbal productions underscored his infantile notions about the magic of words and the threatening omniscience of parental figures, lending a real basis to his suspicions of the analyst. The analyst found himself only one of many figures dealing with the patient around the central issues. The uncertainties of subsidy affected his control of the analysis and the freedom of his efforts to mobilize unconscious conflicts in the patient. Anxiety in response to recording his activities initially produced in the analyst mechanical errors in use of the instrument, which abated but remained throughout as a background issue; the anxiety was felt to be the logical consequence of the analyst's being confronted with the fact of a contaminated analsysis that he is powerless to modify. Tape recording serves to distort the function and identity of the analyst in the direction of parental omniscience, and appeals to the exhibitionistic and infantile

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megalomanic components of both analyst and patient. The subsequent auditing of recorded sessions interfered with the preconscious selectivity of the analyst and tended to confuse. While, theoretically, some of the extrinsic contaminations may be reducible or eliminated by research design and effort, others may remain and may prove impervious to analytic technique.

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Article Citation

McLaughlin, J.T. (1961). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VIII. 1960. Psychoanal. Q., 30:599-600

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