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Wallerstein, R. Richards, A. (1984). The Relation Between Psychoanalytic Theory and Psychoanalytic Technique. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 32:587-602.

(1984). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 32:587-602

The Relation Between Psychoanalytic Theory and Psychoanalytic Technique

Robert Wallerstein, M.D. and Arnold Richards, M.D.

ROBERT WALLERSTEIN INTRODUCED THE PANEL by commenting on the threefold unity of psychoanalysis. It is at once a general theory of the mind, a method of investigating its processes and understanding its nature, and the treatment of its disorders. Analysts take as almost an article of faith that theory is therefore closely linked to technique and that change in theory will be directly translated into change or modification in technique. Analysts maintain this conviction even though as clinicians they often observe change without insight and insight without change. However, counting against the view that theory and technique "lock securely together," but rarely reflected on as such, sits the knowledge that though there have been significant changes in theory over nearly a century of psychoanalysis, yet we are hard-put to detail the ways in which technique has altered in their light. Wallerstein's "complaint" is that in practice there has been less correspondence between theory and technique than is usually claimed. For this reason a fresh and open-minded look at the relation between theory and technique, "whether necessary and consequential, or contingent and conditional, or loose and optional, or quite haphazard and unnecessary," is indeed appropriate and timely.

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