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Hoch, S. (1983). Free Association. Method and Process: By Anton O. Kris. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1982. 133 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 52:607-611.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 52:607-611

Free Association. Method and Process: By Anton O. Kris. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 1982. 133 pp.

Review by:
Samuel Hoch

Much of Freud's written work encompasses the creation of "a new scientific discipline," centered on a theory of the mind constructed with the use of a new investigative approach. The latter is simultaneously a method of treatment and a means of investigation of otherwise inaccessible mental processes. It relies upon the free association method, a therapeutic device, the introduction of which led to extraordinarily far-reaching consequences. Victor Calef, in a personal communication, has pointed out that an important contribution made by Freud was his ability to separate and combine deductive and inductive reasoning, beginning with elementary assumptions. Freud always remained close to the evidence as he used deductive reasoning to create, test, and refine the evolving theoretical conclusions that emerged from the clinical observations that were his original source of data. He made use of an inductive process, on the other hand, to produce theoretical generalizations of sweeping, sometimes breathtaking ingenuity.

While a comprehensive theory of the mind may have been one of Freud's major goals, a theory of the psychoanalytic process surely captured his most immediate attention. It seems doubtful that he confused these two spheres of theory-building, but, as A. Kris suggests, analysts since Freud repeatedly have done so, risking confusion both in their clinical work and in their theoretical understanding.

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