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Levy, S.T. Inderbitzin, L.B. (1992). Neutrality, Interpretation, and Therapeutic Intent. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 40:989-1011.

(1992). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 40:989-1011

Neutrality, Interpretation, and Therapeutic Intent

Steven T. Levy, M.D. and Lawrence B. Inderbitzin, M.D.


Neutrality is a central concept within the theory of psychoanalytic technique. We spell out the major controversies in which the concept has become embroiled, and provide a definition that we believe coincides with actual psychoanalytic practice. We discuss its merits and weaknesses, noting also the negative consequences of relying on older definitions. We relate neutrality to the interpretive process, indicating ways interpretation protects neutrality and is made more effective by it. We discuss the complex and controversial relation between neutrality and the analyst's therapeutic intent.

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