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Abrams, S. (1989). Ambiguity in Excess: An Obstacle to Common Ground. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 70:3-7.

(1989). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 70:3-7

Ambiguity in Excess: An Obstacle to Common Ground

Samuel Abrams


I have tried to focus on several areas intimately linked with clinical work where ambiguities are sufficiently pronounced to disrupt the search for a cohesive framework—a common ground. Those areas include normal development, pathogenesis, the concept of the psychoanalytic process, and the nature of the therapeutic interaction. Analysts need a concept of normality to help sort their data; we need a classification of disorders to specify the domain of our treatment; we need a concept of process to categorize expected encumbrances to the cure; and we need perspectives about the therapeutic relationship to help specify the sources of the encumbrances. An excess of ambiguity in these areas compromises those needs and burdens productive discourse.

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