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Kächele, H. (2015). Response to Russell. Psychoanal. Rev., 102(2):233-235.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Review, 102(2):233-235

Response to Russell

Horst Kächele, M.D., Ph.D.

In his paper “Examination of Transforming Lives: Analyst and Patient View the Power of Psychoanalytic Treatment: Focusing on the Implications of Revealing Details of Treatments to Third Parties,” Richard L. Russell (2014) focuses on the implications of revealing details to third parties. Besides his critique of the book edited by Joseph Schachter, he also comments on the psychoanalytic treatment of the patient Amalia X conducted by the late Helmut Thomä. As the latter is no longer in a position to take up the critical comments himself, I, as a long-time collaborator of his, will shoulder this task.

For any reader it may be important to realize that the Ulm department of psychotherapy implemented tape recording of psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic treatment in 1967. Amalia X was the second of H. Thomä's recorded cases; many more have followed.

Since Merton M. Gill's research group (Gill, Simon, Fink, Endicott, & Paul, 1968) initiated audio recording in psychoanalytic settings, the so-called battle around tape recording has been hotly debated. Wallerstein and Sampson (1971) carefully considered the pro and cons; many others have tuned into the debate. Luborsky and Spence's (1971) call for primary data was a clear-cut demand for overcoming the oral history phase of pure storytelling.

In Germany a fair number of analysts working in academia followed this recording agenda and contributed to an open atmosphere concerning psychoanalytic treatment as a legitimate object of research. Russell's statement that taping sessions is a clear violation of these important features of the ideal “frame” borrows its emphatic quality from the writings of Robert Langs—an author whose standing in academia is not as strong as this critic seems to imply.


[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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