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Busch, F. Milrod, B. (2010). The ongoing struggle for psychoanalytic research: Some steps forward. Psychoanal. Psychother., 24(4):306-314.

(2010). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 24(4):306-314

Special Editorial

The ongoing struggle for psychoanalytic research: Some steps forward

Fredric N. Busch and Barbara L. Milrod

Although the need for psychoanalytic research is increasingly acknowledged, many psychoanalysts remain resistant to the performance and findings of this research. Objections to research include a continuing mistrust of research tools and approaches, combined with a belief in the effectiveness of psychoanalytic treatments based on clinical lore and individual experience. Furthermore, as psychoanalytic literature continues to function within its own separate domain, even well-read psychoanalysts can be sequestered from central scientific conversations occurring in the larger literature about mental health. In part due to these factors, few adequate studies of psychoanalytic treatment approaches have been performed. The lack of efficacy research has added to the marginalization of psychoanalytic treatments. Fortunately, in recent years groups of clinicians and researchers have begun to study psychoanalytic treatments, particularly approaches to specific disorders. In this context, this issue provides a welcome addition to the literature in the trailblazing work and papers of Lemma, Target, & Fonagy and Gelman, McKay, & Marks. They have developed an exportable and specific psychoanalytic psychotherapy, which has been employed in the UK's National Health Service Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme. Work on manualized treatments, such as the Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy of Lemma et al., has allowed psychoanalysts to better clarify and illustrate their treatment approaches. Thus psychoanalytic research, in addition to assessing efficacy, can potentially lead to the development of more effective and rapid relief of symptoms, in a broader population of patients.

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