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Kanzer, M. (1968). Discussion. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 16:211-214.

(1968). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 16:211-214


Mark Kanzer, M.D.

The criticisms of psychoanalysis brought forward by Engel carry us back nearly seventy-five years to Freud's early comments that his case histories read like short stories and seemed to lack the serious stamp of science. He attempted to console himself with the thought that his material gave him no choice and that the more traditional methods of research led nowhere in his work with patients.

Engel also recognizes that the material of the analytic therapist still limits his choice and is willing to grant that his methodology merits scientific approval for such fundamentals as empirical observations, data collection, and theory building; moreover, that his "notions" not only have been established "beyond any doubt" but have been verified by workers in other fields. If the trained research worker can assist the analyst in advancing from such an elementary "grade 1" on the scientific scale to a "grade 2," this could only earn his approval and gratitude.

There seems to be no preliminary need, however, to remind the analyst that his method of investigation is useful beyond the purposes of therapy (what, after all, were Freud's studies of dreams, wit, myths, etc., even if we go back nearly seventy-five years?). He has long been accustomed to correlate clinical data with findings in other fields: constructions as to a normal mental apparatus and norms of personality development and functioning constitute not only by-products but indispensable preconditions of analytic treatment.

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