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Kris, A.O. (1984). The Psychotherapeutic Conspiracy: By Robert Langs, M.D. New York: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1982. 338 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 53:483-486.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53:483-486

The Psychotherapeutic Conspiracy: By Robert Langs, M.D. New York: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1982. 338 pp.

Review by:
Anton O. Kris

Few psychoanalysts are likely to applaud Langs's tendentious sloganeering. "Psychoanalysis is but one of many forms of therapeutic conspiracy between patients and their healers" (p. 129), he writes; and he states that this is a "book of illustration and example rather than … scientific documentation" (p. 44).

Langs has a serious message to convey. Unfortunately, it is marred by the sensationalism of his vocabulary and by an uncritical eye toward his interpretive speculations. His thesis holds that only a treatment method that takes into account the unconscious determinants of communication of both partners in the psychotherapeutic venture can be truthful and curative. His main thrust is directed against errors in technique that derive from the failure of analysts and therapists to recognize and acknowledge the unconscious implications of their actions and interventions. He makes a persuasive case for their ubiquity. He has presented this position on more than one occasion in the past.

In The Psychotherapeutic Conspiracy, as in the paper cited in my footnote here, Langs regards his own approach to psychotherapy, which he calls "truth therapy," as

a natural extension and completion of the psychoanalytic method initiated by Breuer and Freud almost 100 years ago. It is clear too that truth therapy could not be based on any of the other psychotherapeutic paradigms. In a major sense, truth therapy has arisen out of the specific recognition and resolution of the psychoanalytic psychotherapeutic conspiracy (p.

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