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Sandler, J. (1969). Towards a Basic Psychoanalytic Model. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 50:79-90.

(1969). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 50:79-90

Towards a Basic Psychoanalytic Model

Joseph Sandler

Current psychoanalytic terminology is, by and large, that used by Freud. Freud's language bears the imprint of the physiology, neurology, psychiatry, and the classical education of his age. It is coloured by its use in the therapeutic procedure, hence the richness of metaphors. Freud was not concerned with semantics. The correct use of a term had little meaning to him; it was the context that mattered. One might say that such insouciance is the hallmark of genius; it undoubtedly is its prerogative. When a generation or two of scientists arrogate such a prerogative the lack of concern for semantics may well lead to confusion. …

Even more urgent is the systematic clarification. Throughout fifty years, psychoanalytic hypotheses have frequently been revised and reformulated. Rarely, however, have all previous findings been integrated with new insight. In 1926, in Inhibition Symptoms and Anxiety, Freud reformulated a considerable set of his previous hypotheses. I am convinced that this reformulation reaches further than was realized at the time of publication, possibly by Freud himself. At present, hypotheses in psychoanalysis are formulated in various terminologies according to the various stages of the development of psychoanalysis in which they were suggested. Ernst Kris (1947)

The disagreements between the model makers dwarf all their agreements—except one: that model making is necessary. David Rapaport (1951)


In this paper we intend to present a tentative outline of what we have called a "basic psychoanalytic model".

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