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Gill, M.M. (1954). Psychoanalysis and Exploratory Psychotherapy. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 2:771-797.

(1954). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 2:771-797

Psychoanalysis and Exploratory Psychotherapy

Merton M. Gill, M.D.

My general topic is a comparison of psychoanalysis with psychotherapy as methods of treatment. The task facing such a discussion is to steer a course between the Scylla of rigid orthodoxy and the Charybdis of opportunistic heterodoxy. I am not going to present the results of any systematic research but rather a point of view crystallized out of my clinical experience and study of the literature. I must add that my presentation is barren of any specific case material. I felt that in the space available I could not adequately present both a theoretical statement and case material, and decided to confine myself to the former.

My general plan will be to discuss certain matters of terminology, then to separate the field into a number of issues, the confusion of which would muddle our discussion, then to describe psychoanalysis as a technique, at this point defining psychotherapy principally in negative terms as not employing these techniques, then more positively describing techniques of psychotherapy and concluding with a discussion of the goals and results achievable by the two kinds of psychological therapy, with special emphasis on a discussion of the theory of the results achievable in psychotherapy as I believe it needs to be reconsidered according to our newer knowledge of the ego, and changing types of psychotherapy.

It would be possible to spend some time justifying the timeliness of this topic, but the time would be wasted, since I would only be repeating what is well known.


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