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Friedman, L. (1976). Cognitive and Therapeutic Tasks of a Theory of the Mind. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 3:259-275.

(1976). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 3:259-275

Cognitive and Therapeutic Tasks of a Theory of the Mind

Lawrence Friedman


1. From Ricoeur's study of Freud, one can draw the conclusion that the theory of the mind amounts to regarding the mind as an object, and relating conscious phenomena to it as its properties.

2. Cassirer's theory of experience suggests that this object-making underlies all experience and is the essence of science generally.

3. The practical use of theory of the mind in psychoanalytic therapy suggests that the patient is helped to take his mind as an object, rather than the partial experiences, such as the relationship with his therapist, which are the objects he is initially concerned with.

4. Kuhn's discussion of paradigm clash suggests that the shift from experiencing something as an object to experiencing it as the property of another object is not easily precipitated.

5. In psychoanalysis this shift may begin with an agreement between patient and therapist on a problem, felt in common by both parties although described differently by them. The analyst takes the therapeutic relationship to be a property of the patient's mind. Because of his ambivalence, the patient gradually takes his dominant paradigm of the relationship to be the property of some other object, so as to accommodate it to conflicting wishes. The tendency to look for an underlying object is what the analyst communicates, and a common paradigm is more or less arrived at.

6. All psychotherapies may share this objectmaking enterprise. How far the consequent restructuring goes is an empirical and perhaps individual matter. Psychoanalysis is distinctive among psychotherapies in most diligently pursuing the mind as an object.

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