Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To convert articles to PDF…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

At the top right corner of every PEP Web article, there is a button to convert it to PDF. Just click this button and downloading will begin automatically.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Abrams, S. (1995). Common Beliefs, Ground, Hopes, Illusions, And Arguments. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:327-329.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:327-329

Common Beliefs, Ground, Hopes, Illusions, And Arguments

Samuel Abrams, M.D.

Many psychoanalysts are held together by the common belief that they do analysis and not “just” psychotherapy. This way of classifying clinical work implicitly esteems their own approach while disparaging everyone else's. It is no wonder that so many clinicians insist upon calling whatever they do psychoanalysis.

Such classifying is without merit. Psychoanalysis is simply another mode of psychotherapy; or, more correctly, clinical psychoanalysis is a collection of different psychotherapies constructed upon a common ground of facts and theories. The psychotherapies derived from psychoanalytic psychology are different and not necessarily better than those derived from other disciplines.

Unfortunately, that common ground of facts and theories is a bit shaky. Although Freud insisted upon the distinction between invention (theory) and discovery (fact), there is an abiding blurring of the one with the other. Facts are sometimes mythologized; theories are reified. We have even institutionalized the blurring with such curious phrases as “narrative truths vs. veridical truths,” as if there were some value in creating the oxymoron “fictional facts.”

Nevertheless, clinicians have fashioned elaborate techniques upon that shaky common ground. The techniques are intended to promote a process that will have a therapeutic yield. But since there is only partial agreement about what are facts and what are theories, and considerable disagreement about which in each group are the most important, there are inevitable controversies regarding technique.

[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.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.