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Jaffe, C.M. (1994). Discussion of “The Multiple Code Theory and the Psychoanalytic Process” by Wilma Bucci. Ann. Psychoanal., 22:261-270.

(1994). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 22:261-270

Discussion of “The Multiple Code Theory and the Psychoanalytic Process” by Wilma Bucci

Charles M. Jaffe

Clinicians are fond of saying that research is an intrinsic aspect of psychoanalysis. What this has meant in practice is that progress in the field has mainly emerged from the mutual contributions of the pragmatics of the clinical encounter and the evolving theories of motivation, development, and pathology generated to account for clinical events. The systematic study of what transpires in an analysis and of psychoanalytic propositions has had few proponents, with researchers and clinicians generally having separate agendas and going their separate ways. Researchers complain that analysts cannot support clinical claims and analysts complain that questions researchers ask are irrelevant to practitioners. This lack of collaboration creates turmoil, evidenced in our literature in the periodic warnings that something is killing psychoanalysis (Holt, 1981; Holzman, 1985; Wallerstein, 1986, 1988), but it is never quite clear whether art or science is to blame.

It is often difficult for analysts to approach research. Aanalysts are steeped in understanding of individuals, and certainly statistics make little difference in a one-on-one situation. Even when analysts do incorporate research into their everyday work, it becomes part of their general fund of knowledge that contributes to empathic listening (Jaffe and Ryan, 1993).

Now, however, the systematic study of several aspects of psychoanalysis is taking a more prominent role. The renewed interest in research is seeded by the willingness of many analysts over the past few decades to view psychoanalysis in the context of observations from related fields (Lichtenberg, 1983, 1989).

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