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Rangell, L. (1954). Similarities and Differences Between Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychotherapy. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 2:734-744.

(1954). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 2:734-744

Similarities and Differences Between Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychotherapy

Leo Rangell, M.D.

This discussion is aimed at the exploration of a single question, that of describing the ground in common, and of delineating the specific differentiating points, between psychoanalysis on the one hand and dynamic psychotherapy on the other. It is the case that any effort to compare and to appraise the differences between these two disciplines or techniques leads inevitably into the realm of basic and fundamental concepts. To orient such an exploration with respect to the present stage of development of our science, it can be said that in this effort we are pausing, while already busy at work on some of the upper stories and even the interior decorating of our psychoanalytic edifice, as reflected for example by our recent close attention to the complexities of ego function, to re-examine the very foundation. This can be helpful, inasmuch as (a) cracks and splits in the latter can occur while we are busy upstairs—splits which, if possible, had best be repaired in order for the building to continue to stand, and (b) if the foundation can itself be refined or improved, this should always be welcome.

That this investigation is not focusing on an already settled problem is attested to by the experiences of the Committee on Evaluation of Psychoanalytic Therapy, set up within the American Psychoanalytic Association in 1947. In the years of its work since then, this Committee was never able to pass the initial and vexatious point of trying to arrive at some modicum of agreement as to exactly what constitutes psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and possibly transitional forms.

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