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Loewenstein, R.M. (1963). Some Considerations on Free Association. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 11:451-473.

(1963). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 11:451-473

Some Considerations on Free Association

Rudolph M. Loewenstein, M.D.


IN THIS PAPER I shall attempt to review some of the phenomena which can be observed in the patient during the analytic process, describing them as they appear when the psychoanalytic technique is being used. In addition, I propose to review some principles that were found to underlie these phenomena, and to bring to the fore some conclusions which may be drawn from them.

The development of the psychoanalytic method is familiar to us from Freud's own descriptions. In the last decade, valuable contributions on its historical background were published (1), (25), (42). Without going into the details of this development, I must recall some of its highlights in order to underscore certain significant shifts in approach.

After abandoning hypnosis, Freud used at first a method based on the expectation that the warded-off memories of traumatic events would emerge if the patient "concentrated" on recapturing recollections connected with his symptoms. The patients were helped in this procedure by Freud's insistence that they would remember and by reconstructions, as we would say today, which he based upon the derivative memories and associations they produced. The emergence of forgotten memories or of the intermediate associations would follow a starting point chosen by the analyst, namely, the patient's symptom or a detail of it.

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