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Summers, F. (2020). From Resistance to Analytic Truth. Psychoanal. Dial., 30(1):73-83.

(2020). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 30(1):73-83

From Resistance to Analytic Truth

Frank Summers, Ph.D., ABPP

Resistance” in psychoanalysis from its inception has meant the patient’s opposition to and interference with the analytic process that must be followed to resolve the patient’s neurosis. This concept of “resistance” implies the analyst possesses an objective truth about the patient and the therapeutic action of the process. Without that assumption, the concept itself is meaningless. It is argued that the concept of objective truth is inapplicable to any study of the human process, such as psychoanalysis, so resistance is not a defensible concept for the field. However, the commonly proposed alternative, relativism, leads to solipsism and therefore is also not a viable epistemology for psychoanalytic investigation. The concept of analytic truth is proposed as a third way that avoids the pitfalls of both objectivism and relativism. It is argued that when the patient opposes what the analyst regards as a self evident truth, an especially difficult type of enactment is occurring. The clinical approach to extricating the analytic pair from the strangulated enactment of clashing viewpoints is illustrated with the case of a young man who “never got angry.”

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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