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Offenkrantz, W. Tobin, A. (1978). Problems of the Therapeutic Alliance: Analysis with Simultaneous Therapeutic and Research Goals. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 5:217-230.

(1978). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 5:217-230

Problems of the Therapeutic Alliance: Analysis with Simultaneous Therapeutic and Research Goals

William Offenkrantz and Arnold Tobin

In a previous paper (Offenkrantz & Tobin, 1973) we considered the effects upon Freud's analysis of the Wolf Man that stemmed from Freud's having simultaneous therapeutic and research goals. The latter, of course, was the validation of infantile sexuality in his struggle with Jung and Adler, based on the Wolf Man's real-life 'primal scene' and the subsequent dream of the wolves. In this paper we shall, first, present the effects upon a therapeutic analysis of the analyst's explicit research goal: especially the occurrence of 'primal scene' fantasies. Second, we shall use the data of that same analysis to suggest that primal scene fantasies are a ubiquitous developmental event. Third, we shall examine other therapeutic analyses—as we know them without explicit research goals—to raise the possibility that this developmental suggestion has general significance for any development of the therapeutic alliance in the ordinary psychoanalytic situation. Fourth, we shall examine briefly the interface between individual and group psychology in the psychoanalytic situation and the occurrence of primal scene fantasies within the psychoanalytic group. Finally, fifth, we shall discuss some of the methodological issues involved in our approach.

The time has come for the psychoanalytic process to be opened to carefully guarded scrutiny by scientific colleagues as part of a continuing effort to validate psychoanalytic concepts and to retain what is valuable in the psychoanalytic treatment method.

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