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Pontalis, J.-. (2014). No, Twice No: An Attempt to Define and Dismantle the ‘Negative Therapeutic Reaction’. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(3):533-551.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(3):533-551

No, Twice No: An Attempt to Define and Dismantle the ‘Negative Therapeutic Reaction’

J. -B. Pontalis

A recent Congress announced on its programme: ‘New perspectives on the negative therapeutic reaction’. It is an interesting sign of the times, for psychoanalysts scarcely ever speak about the N.T.R and the literature on the question, in comparison with the mass of publications, is quite scarce. But analysts are increasingly concerned with the limits and effectiveness of the treatment, with the value and stability of its results. Judging by what they say, one would imagine that they are no longer confronted with anything but ‘impossible cases’. What's more, they question whether their models are really pertinent to the treatment. It is as if experience did not so much ‘contradict’ the theory - a contradiction in which one can find the promise of a reshaping or refinement of the initial conception - as ‘negate’ it; as if it were an internal necessity of our science, which is becoming ever more ‘civilized’ or sophisticated, to be indefinitely contested, or even held in check - albeit quietly, without fuss - by our experience, which is ever more disconcerting and, in its own way, often discrete, ‘wilder’ than before. So much so that one could just as well argue that the N.T.R. has become, as I once heard it said, an anachronistic concept - insofar as it is deemed to be too attached to the manifest, taking what is simply a moment in the process as an absolute rejection - as the contrary, namely, that it is spreading throughout the whole body of psychoanalysis in crisis.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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