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Silver, D. (1981). Prologue. Psychoanal. Inq., 1(2):163-166.

(1981). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 1(2):163-166

Prologue Related Papers

Donald Silver, M.D.

John Gedo's opening words in Beyond Interpretation are striking. He sees the public turning away from psychoanalysis toward quick, palatable alternatives, and the analytic community questioning “the effectiveness of psychoanalysis as therapy and the adequacy of our theories as a valid psychology” (Gedo, 1979, p. ix).

To Gedo, these burgeoning issues are creating a crisis and a challenge for analysis. Gedo feels new leadership and new directions are needed, and with his creative work in Beyond Interpretation, he has taken up the gauntlet.

This issue of Psychoanalytic Inquiry consists of six essays written in response to Gedo's ideas. In turn, Gedo responds to the essayists.

The scope of issues covered in Beyond Interpretation can best be appreciated when we consider that Gedo offers a critique of existing psychoanalytic theory, a proposal for specific revisions in both general and clinical theory, and specific proposals for revisions of analytic technique. These proposed revisions are illustrated by three clinical examples in which Gedo compares a conventional formulation with a reformulation illustrating his insights. This is indeed a noteworthy effort to be contained within 280 pages! To appreciate fully the issues addressed in each of the commentaries we believe there is no substitute for a reading of the book. But to aid the reader in focusing most effectively on the points of agreement and disagreement raised by the essayists, we offer a brief summary of several salient points.

Gedo's central concept is that the human personality is a hierarchy of personal aims. “Personal aims” for Gedo have specific meanings definable in terms of goals and values. In a prepsychological developmental period, goals exist in terms of such biological aims as tension regulation, values in terms of such biological patterns as complexity and novelty.

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