A basic issue for all those essaying to write comprehensive texts on the nature of psychoanalysis, whether oriented primarily to the exposition of the theory or of the technique of psychoanalysis, - within the American literature the books by Brenner and by Greenson come to mind as exemplars of the two categories - is that of the relationship of the theory to the technique and the practice. This issue is however not always brought into explicit focus in this literature and thereby its problematic nature as a fundamental and not yet satisfactorily resolved dilemma of our discipline is often glossed over, or even bypassed completely, as if we could comfortably assume that Freud had, uniquely in the world's intellectual history, fully succeeded in creating a science and a discipline in which the theory (the understanding) and the therapy (i. e., the cure) were inherently together and truly the same, but two sides of the same coin.
It is the achievement of Helmut ThomS and Horst Kachele, the authors of this book presenting within two volumes - this first one on theory and a second imminent companion volume on clinical interac* tion and application - an overall statement on what psychoanalysis is (or should be) all about, that they have more than others kept this central problematic of the relationship of theory to practice in the center of the reader's conceptual field and have organized their presentation of the phenomena of our field, of its concepts and its data, accordingly. The heart of the problematic to which I am referring is caught in one short paragraph in Chap. 7: “As for psychoanalysis, one can see that while the theories are predominantly concerned with the determinants of genesis, the rules of technique are oriented toward achieving the necessary and sufficient conditions for change: psychoanalytic technique is not simply application of theory” (p. 218, emphasis added). From this distinction and inevitable tension, all else follows - though it is of course also an oversimplification and something of an injustice for me to focus the overall thrust of this so very comprehensive book in just this way, or to imply that the whole range of conceptual problems of our field is caught up in the effort at the delineation of the interplay - and the dialectic - between theoretical and clinical therapeutic development.
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