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Meltzer, D. (1975). Adhesive Identification. Contemp. Psychoanal., 11:289-310.

(1975). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 11:289-310

Adhesive Identification

Donald Meltzer, M.D.

PSYCHOANALYSIS IS SUCH AN ESSENTIALLY historical subject and method that it really doesn't make sense to talk about it any way but historically and, of course, we have to start with Freud. However, history is like the law; the law is what the courts do, and history is what historians say; and my history is different from your history and you mustn't expect it necessarily to correspond. It's just my way of understanding psychoanalytic history. It's a very peculiar science that we have. I don't begin yet to understand how it works or develops and why sometimes it doesn't develop and sometimes it seems to shoot ahead. You can see in Freud's way of working that while he thought himself an inductive scientist, he certainly didn't work purely inductively at all. You can see that he worked deductively at times. The process of his development is interestingly documented. We have in this marvelous and sort of horrific Project for Scientific Psychology a document that states with such clarity this mass of preconceptions that he had to gradually whittle away and get rid of in order to change from a neurophysiologist to the great phenomenological psychologist that he eventually became. I suppose really all of us have to do that. We have from our education and development a massive preconception of models and theories and ideas that we gradually have to get rid of in order to free ourselves to receive new impressions and to think new thoughts and entertain new models. It seems to me an extraordinarily difficult process, it tends inevitably to grind to a halt. How it is that we get kicked forward seems mainly to start in our consulting rooms and its when we are in trouble and nothing good seems to be happening that we begin to think again, and what I am going to present is really an outgrowth of being in trouble, and beginning to think about things and trying to find new ways of thinking.

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