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Bornstein, M. (1983). Prologue. Psychoanal. Inq., 3(4):547-550.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 3(4):547-550


Melvin Bornstein, M.D.

Although psychoanalysis is simultaneously an investigative procedure and a therapy for mental illness, psychoanalytic formulations and concepts to bridge these realms have never been adequately worked out. This conceptual hiatus between theory and practical application has been the focus of considerable debate around themes of metapsychology vs. clinical theory, natural science vs. humanism, narrative truth vs. historical truth. Accordingly, the papers in this issue, like the papers on Construction and Reconstruction in Psychoanalysis (Psychoanalytic Inquiry, Vol. 3, No. 2), reflect the contributors efforts to bridge this hiatus. In the role of investigator, the analyst must remain “neutral and detached” from the material of his work. In the role of therapist, the analyst must advocate values of health, development, and the autonomy of the individual.

Two decades ago, Ishak Ramzy wrote a seminal paper, “On the Place of Values in Psychoanalysis” (1965). In this paper Ramzy discussed the incongruity between the standard of neutrality and the necessity of maintaining values of the healing arts within psychoanalysis. Accordingly, one of the two fundamental hypotheses of psychoanalysis, psychic determinism (Brenner, 1955), is based upon the implied value of the existence of an organization and autonomy within mental life. Because of its relevance, we are reprinting Ramzy's paper in its entirety.

We have divided the original papers for this issue into two sections: Values and Neutrality. The section on values begins with a historical survey by Sidney M. Lytton, and continues with “Values in the Psychoanalytic Situation,” by William W. Meissner, who reconsiders some of the fundamental issues on this subject. He questions why so little attention has been devoted to the place of values in the psychoanalytic literature.

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