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Dewald, P.A. (1981). Revision: Yes. Improvement: No. Psychoanal. Inq., 1(2):187-204.

(1981). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 1(2):187-204

Revision: Yes. Improvement: No Related Papers

Paul A. Dewald, M.D.

Discussion of issues, disagreement regarding theories and formulations, the sharing of new data, and the emergence of new points of view are healthy signs in any discipline. Psychoanalysis is no exception. Effective as we may feel our current theories and technical procedures to be, there is always room for improvement, expansion, and increased clarity of our conceptualizations of what we do and why we do it.

But new formulations regarding theory, technique, or process in psychoanalysis must respect and accommodate those primary data which have been established by repeated observation. To be convincing, a new formulation cannot selectively stress some aspects of clinical data while ignoring others; it cannot be based upon idiosyncratic observational or therapeutic techniques which significantly alter the primary data in question; and it must demonstrate clearcut advantages over the formulation it seeks to replace.

I approach a critique of John E. Gedo's new book, Beyond Interpretation (1979), primarily from the point of view of a clinician, with little expertise in the areas of abstract theory formation or the philosophy of science. My evaluation of his new proposed formulations rests primarily upon whether or not they help in the understanding of the clinical data I derive from the psychoanalytic situation with my own patients.


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