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Friedman, L. (1995). Classics Revisited: Introduction. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:171-173.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:171-173

Classics Revisited: Introduction

Lawrence Friedman

Here the Journal brings together discussions of three classics that seem to mark successive positions in a development: Freud's papers on technique; Leo Stone's The Psychoanalytic Situation, and Heinz Kohut's The Analysis of the Self. What's the trend in this progression?

Some will say it is the gradual humanizing of the analyst's manner or, viewed sourly, the decay of his discipline. They will point to the change from a demanding neutrality in Freud, to Stone's background nurturance, and thence to Kohut's foreground validation.

Others will see a movement from an oedipal to a preoedipal focus, from the paternal to the maternal significance of the analyst—a growing inclination to model treatment on child-rearing images. They may be struck by a tendency first to supplement Freud's conflict theory with maturational theory, as in Stone's mothers of closeness and separation, and then to replace conflict with structure-building, as in Kohut's transmutating internalizations.

For some readers, these classics will mark a shift in the rationale of treatment, as it moves away from Freud's emphasis on verbal interpretation to Stone's humane platform for verbal understanding, to the visceral experience (and subsequent understanding) of deflationary estrangements and constructive reunions, as Kohut postulates.

If you want to know what contemporary analysts think of these trends, you won't be disappointed in the following panels, nor will you be disappointed if you would rather see these cliches shaken up a bit and salted with other issues. The texts are not simple position statements.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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