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Ekstrom, S.R. (2002). A cacophony of theories: contributions towards a story-based understanding of analytic treatments. J. Anal. Psychol., 47(3):339-358.

(2002). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 47(3):339-358

A cacophony of theories: contributions towards a story-based understanding of analytic treatments

Soren R Ekstrom, Ph.D.

The article addresses problems associated with analytic formulations from the founders of psychoanalysis, including C. G. Jung. Although no longer able to claim a scientific basis for these theoretical constructs, analytic practitioners still use this outdated terminology when presenting their work with patients. By now there is a cacophony of theories often concealing rather than explaining. Denial of loneliness, notions of special knowledge, and idealization of the ‘The Founder’ seem to perpetuate formulations which no longer carry a clear meaning. The article explores three proposals for describing analytic treatments based on the works of the psychoanalyst Roy Schafer and the cognitive psychologist Roger Schank: analytic attitudes, therapeutic narratives and specific treatment perspectives. The first addresses findings from psychotherapy research about the centrality of analytic attitudes. The second applies the findings about story-based memory and narratives to therapy relationships, and the third takes note of the fact that analytic attention often is more complex than can be described with terms such as transference/countertransference.

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