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Busch, F. (1995). Neglected Classics: M. N. Searl's “Some Queries On Principles Of Technique”. Psychoanal Q., 64:326-344.

(1995). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 64:326-344

Neglected Classics: M. N. Searl's “Some Queries On Principles Of Technique”

Fred Busch, Ph.D.

In 1936 M. N. Searl published a brilliant exposition on the significance of resistance analysis. It was as well a singular exploration of some technical variables to be considered when the role of the ego is contemplated as part of our interpretive methods. I would consider it one of the preeminent examples in our literature of an ego psychological approach to the psychoanalytic process. Searl grasped the clinical implications of Freud's (1923, 1926) introduction of the structural theory and of his second theory of anxiety as few authors before or since have done.

If my reading of the significance of Searl's article is correct, it is deserving of further study because it is a remarkable historical document that presages the work of such psychoanalytic scholars as Kris, Gray, and Schafer writing in this same area some forty to fifty years later (Gray, 1973, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1992; Kris, 1982, 1983, 1990, 1992; Schafer, 1983). However, Searl's article also stands out as an exceptional rendering of the psychoanalytic process, with the ego at the center of the analytic work. Like few papers in our field, it gives the clinician a feeling for an ego psychological approach to the data of psychoanalysis that is an alive, dynamic method of working in the clinical situation. Yet I have seen Searl's paper referred to only in two works, widely separated in time but not in tone (see, Fenichel, 1941; Gray, 1982).

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