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Oremland, J.D. Fisher, C.P. (1987). Conversion of Psychotherapy to Psychoanalysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 35:713-726.

(1987). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 35:713-726

Conversion of Psychotherapy to Psychoanalysis

Jerome D. Oremland, M.D. and Charles P. Fisher, M.D.

IN HIS OPENING REMARKS, OREMLAND RAISED the central issue of the Panel—whether conversion from psychotherapy to psychoanalysis requires transfer of the patient to another analyst. The more historical and conservative view was that a new analyst is required. The idea that a change in analysts is unnecessary is emerging in recent years as the result of significant conceptual shifts concerning the relation between psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.

Oremland described a spectrum of viewpoints regarding the distinctions among the analytic psychotherapies and psychoanalysis proper. The historical dichotomy between exploratory and supportive psychotherapy has conceptual ambiguities in that it leaves unclear what is to be explored and what is to be supported. By and large, noninterpretive interventions, whether exploratory or supportive, are varieties of suggestion. A different dimension, introduced by R. R. Greenson, differentiated "those psychotherapies which use the transference toward therapeutic goals from those, of which analysis proper is the most pure form, in which the transference … is the central object of study."

Oremland stated that the panelists vary in their views of the importance of interpretation in psychotherapy—one pole being the viewpoint that psychotherapy utilizes selective and partial interpretations, along with interactive interventions; the other pole being the viewpoint that "psychotherapy for a wide variety of patients can be comprised of predominantly interpretive interventions, similar in mode and manner to the activity of the analyst in analysis."

He asked the panelists to discuss "the qualitative and quantitative range of interaction that can constitute the initial psychotherapy" and still preserve the potential for subsequent conversion.


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