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Strean, H.S. (1981). The Contribution of Paradigmatic Psychotherapy to Psychoanalysis. Mod. Psychoanal., 6(1):27-45.

(1981). Modern Psychoanalysis, 6(1):27-45

The Contribution of Paradigmatic Psychotherapy to Psychoanalysis

Herbert S. Strean, D.S.W.

In a recent essay on mid-twentieth-century man entitled The Quest for Identity, Dr. Allen Wheelis concerns himself with the relevance of psychoanalysis to the malaise of our time. Exploring the implications and consequences of accelerating social change, Wheelis attributes new patterns of personal unrest and uncertainty to the decline of the superego, the diminished unconscious, and the undermining of traditional values and ways of adjusting to life. In contrast to the patient consulting an analyst in Freud's day, the mid-twentieth-century analysand often appears “burdened by a sense of futility and longs for something or someone to give meaning to his life, to tell him who he is, to give him something to live for.”

As social change of sufficient magnitude requiring adaptive characterological change has occurred, psychoanalysis as a psychotherapy has attempted to become equally adaptive. Innovations in therapy, therefore, have to be viewed as part and parcel of evolving society. For example, Freud's thought was molded by the cultural atmosphere of the period that ended with the First World War.

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