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Rendon, M. (1984). Clinical Work in the Horney Tradition. Am. J. Psychoanal., 44(3):319-333.

(1984). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 44(3):319-333

Clinical Work in the Horney Tradition

Mario Rendon, M.D.

A long history bears witness to the merit of the clinical method; it is the heir of folk medicine, of magic, and of religion. Only in the last few centuries has it entered the field of science. After unprecedented growth during the last century, when it reached its zenith, the clinical method in medicine has seen a certain involution owing to causes that I will discuss below. At the same time, the humanities have rapidly advanced, dividing progressively into more and more specialized areas. Within this framework, psychoanalysis appears as the branch of the sciences of man in which the clinical method continues to be the cornerstone, the sine qua non of its theory and its practice, and the privileged area that condenses it all.

Nevertheless, if we look at psychoanalysis, which originated in medicine and was the product of a need to address psychopathological problems, we find a contradiction: after inspiring psychiatry, at least in the United States, during the postwar decades, psychoanalysis seems to have moved further and further away from medicine. Psychiatry, as part of medicine, is more and more oriented toward the systematic research of groups, and toward epidemiology, statistics, pharmacodynamics, psychometrics, and electroencephalography.

As these developments have taken place, psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic groups have multiplied; new theoretical, if not ideological, versions are swarming, myriads of short-term therapies, marathons, and self-help groups appear, while new clinics and institutes are established. This accelerated growth of the psychotherapeutic market, in turn, arises from diverse political, social, and ideological roots. As dichotomy is then established between the progressive blossoming of the psychotherapies, including psychoanalysis, and the increasing rejection of psychoanalysis in the mental therapeutics.


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