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Ramzy, I. (1974). How the Mind of the Psychoanalyst Works: An Essay on Psychoanalytic Inference. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 55:543-550.

(1974). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 55:543-550

How the Mind of the Psychoanalyst Works: An Essay on Psychoanalytic Inference Related Papers

Ishak Ramzy

Unbelievable as it may sound, in the whole vast library of psychoanalysis—clinical, theoretical, technical or applied—there are hardly any references which outline the logical guidelines or the methodological rules which the analyst follows in order to understand his patient. Works on psychoanalytic technique are replete with the rules of therapy—with the timing, the types and the ways of formulating the comments which the analyst can convey to his analysand. However, the analyst's interpretations can only be derived from his own understanding of the patient's story and frequently they are only a part of the inferences the analyst makes first in his own mind as he listens along, hour after hour, to what the patient talks about.

Dispersed in Freud's monumental works, especially in his earlier clinical writings, can only be found a few passages where he gives an occasional description of how he reasoned out what he observed, or statements in misleadingly simple language of one or the other logical tenets he followed in reaching his conclusions. As time went by, the various theoretical constructs and working hypotheses developed by generations of psychoanalysts became intermingled within the clinical accounts and taken for granted as if they were self-evident facts which needed no further proof or explanation.

A careful scrutiny of the literature would turn up, of course, several contributions which deal directly or indirectly with the psychoanalytic method.

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