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(1992). Meetings of the Psychoanalytic Institute and Society of New England, East. Psychoanal Q., 61:690-690.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:690-690

Meetings of the Psychoanalytic Institute and Society of New England, East

September 30, 1991. IN SEARCH OF PSYCHOANALYTIC TECHNIQUE? PERSPECTIVES FROM ON THE COUCH AND FROM BEHIND THE COUCH. Bennett Simon, M.D.

In order to approach the elusive question of psychoanalytic technique as it is actually used, Dr. Simon proposed exploiting an "experiment of nature" derived from his own experience of technique as an analysand with four different analysts over eleven years. His method was to compare the four analytic settings and the analysts' manner of operating with respect to analytic atmosphere, free association, interpretation, the use of dreams, the reconstruction of childhood, parameters, personal revelations of the analyst, and the role of politics. Before presenting the data, Dr. Simon discussed difficulties in his methodology, including the self-serving nature of memory and privacy.

The first two analyses were with candidates (Drs. A and B), and the second two were with training analysts (Drs. C and D). The analyses with Drs. A and C were prematurely interrupted for extrinsic reasons. With regard to analytic atmosphere and free association, Dr. Simon found few differences attributable to theoretical disputes, but substantial differences related to temperament, personal style, and experience. The training analysts spoke much more. Dr. Simon reviewed current controversies about the relative importance of interpretation in the therapeutic action of analysis. He compared the frequency of complete interpretations in the four analyses, offering several examples, and found that while classical interpretations were important and mutative, other interventions had powerful effects, as did the analytic situation itself.

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