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Olesker, W. (2006). Thoughts on Medication and Psychoanalysis: A Lay Analyst's View. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 54(3):763-779.

(2006). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 54(3):763-779

Thoughts on Medication and Psychoanalysis: A Lay Analyst's View

Wendy Olesker

The issues involved in split analytic treatments—where a second person manages the patient's medication—are discussed from the point of view of a developmentalist and lay analyst. Case material is presented to illustrate the interplay of medication with other elements of the psychoanalytic situation. Medication and its effects, it is argued, should be accorded no special status apart from other interventions and enactments in an analysis. Some see medication and psychoanalysis as parallel processes, two separate and unintegrated theoretical systems, and recommend shifting back and forth between models of the mind or becoming “bilingual”; against this view, it is argued that anything the analyst does will affect the patient's thoughts, fantasies, and even physiology in individual ways, and only attention to analytic material can reveal what an intervention means in a specific case. Success in split treatment depends on a collaborative therapeutic alliance among patient, analyst, and consultant. Because there is as yet no theory that bridges psychoanalysis and psychopharmacology, analysts must talk of these matters as incompletely synthesized and regard them as part of the challenges that make psychoanalysis the exciting, impossible profession it is.

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