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Jelliffe, S.E. (1915). Technique of Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Rev., 2(2):191-199.

(1915). Psychoanalytic Review, 2(2):191-199

Technique of Psychoanalysis

Smith Ely Jelliffe

(Continued from page 80)

In reviewing the very large literature which has appeared up to the present time (over a thousand titles) it may readily be seen that the claims made by those who have been practicing psychoanalysis have been very conservative,—in fact, such conservatism appears in inverse ratio to the vituperation heaped upon the psychoanalyst and the analytical methods by stupid critics.

It is important to tell the patient not to discuss the question with any one until they have had enough experience to do so intelligently,—when of their own accord they have it borne in upon them that it is usually hopeless to attempt to make those who do not wish to see any the wiser. The would-be critic is usually in the position of one who, unable to decipher his own Chinese laundry check, immediately feels competent to discuss the whole subject of Oriental languages, history and culture.

It is very rare that one is not expected to give some explanation of what one is going to do: This calls for some form of preliminary statement. No two individuals can be approached in the same way, but it is not bad technique to tell the patient, after the general history may have begun, that the chief work of analysis is to enable the patient to see his or her unconscious. That it is in this form of mental activity that the chief causes for the disturbances will be found. This will probably lead to an inquiry as to “what is the unconscious?” The unconscious is after all a way of looking at things—an hypothesis like all other mental concepts—and it will vary with each analyst's previous training, and each patient's intellectual status as to how the idea can be developed.

White has well said that the unconscious is our historical past. Bergson's idea of the unconscious is often a useful one to use.

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