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Naso, R.C. (2015). What is Effective in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy? A Historical Reprise: Response to the Responses. Am. J. Psychoanal., 75(2):159-168.

(2015). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(2):159-168

What is Effective in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy? A Historical Reprise: Response to the Responses Related Papers

Ronald C. Naso

Despite their differences in focus and perspective, the thoughtful responses to the 1956 and 1965 roundtables all highlight the continuing evolution of psychoanalysis as a theory and clinical practice. This evolution has been neither gradual nor apolitical; as has been duly noted in the commentaries, the two roundtables represent a reaction against the strictures of Freudian orthodoxy. For those of us who came of age before “plurality” was fashionable, differences in theory had real-world consequences—not only with regard to case formulation and technique, but also access to training and possibilities for career advancement. So pitched was the infighting at times that the present emphasis on inclusion can be formulated as the product of a dialectical process in which negation and exclusion operated at least as powerfully as integration.

One unfortunate consequence of this process is highlighted by Kuriloff (2015) and Axelrod (2015) in different ways. Kuriloff notes the current suspicion about linear or universal formulations regarding the essential ingredients of change.

The implication of this position, one widely shared by contemporary psychoanalysts, is that questions of “what makes a difference” in treatment are essentially flawed because they call for universalizing responses and truths that our current state of knowledge simply cannot provide.

[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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