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Ahlskog, G. (1983). Narrative Truth and Historical Truth: Meaning and Interpretation in Psychoanalysis. Donald P. Spence. New York: W. W. Norton. 1980. 272 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 70(2):290-293.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Review, 70(2):290-293

Narrative Truth and Historical Truth: Meaning and Interpretation in Psychoanalysis. Donald P. Spence. New York: W. W. Norton. 1980. 272 pp.

Review by:
Gary Ahlskog

Something is new in psychoanalytic thinking, and Donald Spence is writing about it. Trouble surrounds the traditional view of interpretations as reconstructions, and Donald Spence tells why. Psychoanalytic treatment makes up meanings for the patient's psychic material while claiming to have discovered them, and Donald Spence pursues this matter into the treatment room where well-intended fabrication is the analyst's stock in trade.

Spence's professionalism does not permit him to be this blunt, but there is no mistaking the full thrust of his documented argument that most interpretations are constructed according to the rules for good narrative fit, not by the rules of evidence from psychic history.

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