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Stein, M.H. Morgenstern, S.A. (1976). Current Concepts of the Psychoanalytic Process. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 24:181-195.

(1976). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 24:181-195

Current Concepts of the Psychoanalytic Process

Martin H. Stein, M.D. and Stephen A. Morgenstern, M.D.

This panel, originally intended to consider the "therapeutic process," underwent a change in title and direction as it shifted to a consideration of the "psychoanalytic process." Martin Stein, in his opening remarks, commented on this shift from an emphasis on cure to a focus on the analytic work itself. Examining the title further, he emphasized that all that is current is not new. Our long-established concepts of conflict, resistance, re-experiencing of the past, and ego dominance are all current. Yet, they have been reinterpreted through the years. Each interpretation may add to theory, for theory-building depends upon a process of historical accretion, an encompassing of various points of view in order to establish new and more useful hypotheses.

In the initial formal presentation, Roy Schafter demonstrated this concept as he both clarified our older formulations and suggested modifications in them. Three interrelated theses define for Schafer the psychoanalytic process. It is, first, the construction of a certain kind of life history; it is, second, a certain kind of present subjective world; and it leads to a transformation of the terms in which an analysand defines and understands his or her past and present. A Freudian life history is one of the many possible life histories. In it, one deals with versions of the major typical sexual and aggressive conflicts of childhood.

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