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Barratt, B.B. (1994). Critical Notes on the Psychoanalyst's Theorizing. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 42:697-725.

(1994). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 42:697-725

Critical Notes on the Psychoanalyst's Theorizing

Barnaby B. Barratt, Ph.D.


The extant literature on psychoanalytic methodology scarcely addresses the question as to when, or under what conditions, the psychoanalyst's inner activities of theoretical formulation might be resistive to or facilitative of the psychoanalytic process. These notes are a preliminary exploration of what might be at issue in answering such questions. General problems concerning the status of theorizing in contemporary philosophy of science and in psychoanalysis are reviewed, and some elementary ways in which theorizing activity might govern the psychoanalyst's functioning are discussed. It is suggested that there are currently three radically divergent attitudes toward such activity, and these are depicted as the computational, the engaged, and the cadaverized psychoanalyst. It is argued that these attitudes foster or fixate the psychoanalyst's illusions, and are therefore resistive to the psychoanalyst's radical responsibility to interrogate free-associatively his or her own suppositions and discursive maneuvers.

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