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Spence, D.P. (1982). Narrative Truth and Theoretical Truth. Psychoanal Q., 51:43-69.

(1982). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 51:43-69

Narrative Truth and Theoretical Truth

Donald P. Spence


Although Freud was inclined to believe that every effective reconstruction contained a "kernel of truth," it is by no means clear how this kernel can be identified and separated from the set of equally likely fabrications which make up a good part of the patient's life story. If we have no sure way of identifying historical truth, we may be seriously handicapped in our attempt to frame theoretical laws. What may be effective in a particular clinical instance (narrative truth) may not automatically generalize to the larger domain of clinical theory.

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