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Nunes, E.P. (1989). Common Ground in Psychoanalysis: Clinical Aims and Process as I See it. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 70:24-28.

(1989). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 70:24-28

Common Ground in Psychoanalysis: Clinical Aims and Process as I See it

Eustachio Portella Nunes

Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present
… In my beginning is my end. (T. S. Eliot)

The notion of paradigm has an important role in the idea that we hold of the progress of science since Thomas Kuhn published his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn shows that normal science, as we usually understand it, develops in a context that includes a whole constellation of beliefs, values and techniques that function as models shared by researchers in their scientific practice, and oriented towards the refinement of this paradigm. Researchers tend to resolve the problems that appear, arranging them so as not to break the established norms. Difficulties arise when scientists discover new facts that do not fit into the accepted norms. The initial tendency is to reject them as not scientific or as metaphysical. When, however, anomalies are important and new conceptions start to explain phenomena not understood until then, a crisis is generated. Scientific revolutions, following these postulations, would be preceded by periods of crisis in the sense that the present paradigm shows deficiencies in explaining new facts.

This occurred in psychiatry in the nineteenth century, which culminated in the Kraepelian system. After having offered important services to a more rational psychiatric classification, it threatened to distort it with formal schemes and diagnostic preciseness in which there was no place for the whole reality of the patient.

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