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De Jonghe, F. Rijnierse, P. Janssen, R. (1992). The Role of Support in Psychoanalysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 40:475-499.

(1992). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 40:475-499

The Role of Support in Psychoanalysis

F. De Jonghe, M.D., P. Rijnierse, M.D. and R. Janssen, M.D.


A two-factor theory of clinical psychoanalysis is proposed. In accordance with the predominant position of the structural-adaptational ("classical") approach in psychoanalytic theory, the power of interpretation and insight in clinical psychoanalysis has received ample attention in psychoanalytic literature. There seems, however, to be a growing awareness among analysts that not all the facts of an analytic treatment can be accounted for by this approach alone. A second factor is increasingly recognized: the power of adequate support provided by the analyst and resulting in a specific experience by the analysand. In the application of the developmental ("postclassical") approach of psychoanalytic theory, the importance of this support-experience factor in the treatment of ordinary neurosis by means of ordinary psychoanalysis is emphasized. The relative neglect of this aspect of clinical psychoanalysis may be indicative of the present-day dilemma of how to translate advances in theoretical knowledge of mental development into the therapeutic praxis of psychoanalysis. There may, however, be another important reason. Support and experience are phenomena often occurring on the nonverbal level. In contrast to interpretation and insight, they are usually not voiced, let alone distinctly and loudly expressed. They are the silent power of psyhcoanalysis.

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