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Stone, L. (1973). On Resistance to the Psychoanalytic Process: Some Thoughts on Its Nature and Motivations. Psychoanal. Contemp. Sci., 2(1):42-73.

(1973). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Science, 2(1):42-73

On Resistance to the Psychoanalytic Process: Some Thoughts on Its Nature and Motivations

Leo Stone, M.D.

It is important to mention at the outset that, whereas resistance is, in certain fundamental references, an operational equivalent of defense, its scope is really far larger and far more complicated. It utilizes an array of mechanisms which sometimes defy classification in the way that fundamental genetically determined defenses, derived from important and common developmental trends, can be classified. From falling asleep to brilliant argument, there is a limitless and mobile spectrum of devices with which the patient may protect the current integrations of his personality, including his system of permanent defenses. In fact, resistances of a surface, conscious type, related to individual character and to educational and cultural background, often present themselves at the patient's first confrontation with an unique and often puzzling treatment method. While some of these phenomena are continuous with deeper resistances, others must be met at their own level. These considerations are obviously very important. However, I must leave them for now to the much-neglected faculty of informed and reflective common sense, and move on to the less readily accessible and explicable dynamisms, which inevitably supervene in analytic work, even if these initial surface resistances have been largely or wholly mastered. Nor shall I attempt to discuss the specific influence of the immediate cultural climate, especially the general attitudes of many young people (A. Freud, 1968) toward the psychoanalytic process and its goals.


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