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Glover, E. (1930). Introduction to the Study of Psycho-Analytical Theory. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 11:470-484.

(1930). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 11:470-484

Introduction to the Study of Psycho-Analytical Theory

Edward Glover

Those of you who have undergone intensive immunization in the lecture rooms of extra-psychological science may not view with too great enthusiasm the prospect of sitting through yet another series of lectures on a theoretical subject. And I am aware that, although the history of psycho-analytic discoveries has a strong dramatic interest, the companion history of psycho-analytical theory is on the whole less likely to fire the imagination. Yet in its own way the history of psycho-analytical theory offers plenty of excitement to those who can see through the actual formulations to the clinical background of arduous research. At any rate it is safe to say that you are commencing your study of theory at an interesting phase in the development of the science. In the process of making psychological history the theory of psycho-analysis has been subject to continuous quickening influences; and there is every reason to expect that recent theoretical formulations will prove a successful instrument with which to penetrate further the problems of Ego-development. In these researches you are about to share, though admittedly the first step is the modest and apparently tedious one of listening to lectures and taking part in their discussion.

Now according to psycho-analytic principles it is a prerequisite of every scientific activity that subjective factors in the situation should be thoroughly explored, and there seems to be no reason why this should not apply to the humble scientific preliminary of 'giving lectures'. Let us set an example to ourselves therefore by tabulating all the arguments of expediency which influence our lecturing system.

In the first place I think we may say that the aim of teaching analytical theory is not simply the time-saving one of imparting systematized information. We have to take into account the fact that the previous training and equipment of students approaching psycho-analysis varies very widely and that in forming a group it is necessary to establish as soon as possible the Highest Common Factor of theoretical understanding amongst members of that unit.

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