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Strachey, J. (1969). The Nature of the Therapeutic Action of Psychoanalysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 50:275-292.

(1969). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 50:275-292

The Nature of the Therapeutic Action of Psychoanalysis

James Strachey

SUMMARY

I will end by summarizing the four main points of the hypothesis I have put forward:

1. The final result of psychoanalytic therapy is to enable the neurotic patient's whole mental organization, which is held in check at an infantile stage of development, to continue its progress towards a normal adult state.

2. The principal effective alteration consists in a profound qualitative modification of the patient's superego, from which the other alterations follow in the main automatically.

3. This modification of the patient's superego is brought about in a series of innumerable small steps by the agency of mutative interpretations, which are effected by the analyst in virtue of his position as object of the patient's id-impulses and as auxiliary superego.

4. The fact that the mutative interpretation is the ultimate operative factor in the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis does not imply the exclusion of many other procedures (such as suggestion, reassurance, abreaction, etc.) as elements in the treatment of any particular patient.

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