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Devereux, G. (1959). A Psychoanalytic Scrutiny of Certain Techniques of Direct Analysis. Psychoanal. Rev., 46B(2):45-65.

(1959). Psychoanalytic Review, 46B(2):45-65

A Psychoanalytic Scrutiny of Certain Techniques of Direct Analysis

George Devereux, Ph.D.


The objective and dispassionate study of precisely what happens psychodynamically when the technique of direct analysis is applied to the treatment of a schizophrenic has been made almost impossible by the concerted demands of the friends and of the foes of this method that its therapeutic value be assessed once and for all, before anyone could undertake a formal dynamic analysis of just precisely what actually happens psychodynamically in a direct analysis. Since it is methodologically senseless to endorse or to condemn a method before its real nature has been explored, the present study is limited exclusively to an examination of certain dynamic processes which appear to be triggered off and influenced by certain techniques used in direct analysis. It is proposed to investigate these dynamics in terms of the classical psychoanalytic frame of reference and to ascertain the extent to which these technical devices and procedures “fit” what is known at present about the etiology and the dynamics of schizophrenia.

In order to be able to do so with a maximum of objectivity, the question of the ultimate therapeutic effectiveness of the method of direct analysis will be entirely ignored in the present study. Indeed, it is possible to analyze the psychodynamics of any type of interpersonal relationship without evaluating its merits as a therapeutic measure. In brief, it is felt that the validity of the present interpretation of the psychodynamics of certain techniques of direct analysis is wholly independent of the question of the usefulness or harmfulness of that method. It is our thesis that such a non-valuative scrutiny of what actually happens when direct analysis is used in the treatment of schizophrenics must precede any valuative pronouncement regarding that method.


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