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Friedman, L. (1994). Classics Revisited: Introduction. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 42:847-849.

(1994). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 42:847-849

Classics Revisited: Introduction

Lawrence Friedman, M.D.

Psychoanalytic technique involves principles and procedures that constantly require the analyst's review and self-supervision, activities as intermingled with and inherently related to the practice of therapy as is his self-analysis
—Mark Kanzer (1979p. 327)

IN 1924 SÁNDOR FERENCZI AND OTTO RANK collaborated on a monograph that deplored the practice of interpreting for the sake of interpreting. They suggested that material be understood always in the context of the relationship, and they described an organically developing treatment process in which the living out of aspirations played as significant a role as their understanding. The authors expected a psychoanalytic prize; instead they won Freud's displeasure. Their ideas were not without influence, but the book receded into the profession's preconscious until it was brought to the fore by a generation more sympathetic to experiential aspects of treatment.

An opposite fate awaited Richard Sterba's (1934) ideas when, a decade after Ferenczi and Rank, he described a quite different treatment experience—an experience of detached contemplation—that became a standard ingredient in the psychoanalytic rationale of treatment, as the observing fragment of a split ego or the therapeutic alliance.

By the 1950's analysts were wrestling with the problem of how to prevent the living out of the relationship from interfering with the detached contemplation, and they found a touchstone in K. R. Eissler's (1953) parameters of psychoanalytic technique within which contemplation could be restored and beyond which it had gone forever. Eissler sketched an ideal that anlysts could use to excuse or to discipline themselves, and "parameters" entered at once into both the theory and argot of the profession.


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