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Spotnitz, H. (1992). A Note on Psychoanalytic Research. Mod. Psychoanal., 17(2):133-136.

(1992). Modern Psychoanalysis, 17(2):133-136

A Note on Psychoanalytic Research

Hyman Spotnitz, M.D., Med. Sc. D.

In 1916 Freud makes the statement, “One can only reply to the patient that saying everything really does mean to say everything” (1916a, p. 288). Later that same year, he writes:

An analytic treatment demands from both doctor and patient the accomplishment of serious work, which is employed in lifting internal resistances. Through the overcoming of these resistances [the resolving of these resistances] the patient's life is permanently changed, is raised to a higher level of development, and remains protected against fresh possibilities of falling ill. This work of overcoming resistances [resolving resistances] is the essential function of analytic treatment; the patient has to accomplish it. The doctor makes it possible for him with the help of suggestion operating in the educative sense. For that reason psychoanalytic treatment has justly been described as a kind of after-education

(1916b, p. 451).

To resolve the patient's resistance to saying everything is the basic principle of modern psychoanalysis.

Resistance is a byproduct of the biophysical psychological influence of untoward factors which prevented the maturation of the fertilized ovum. The analytic task is to create in the transference a situation which allows for resistance to appear and to be resolved without harming the patient's individuality. In a way similar to the patient's life situation, the analytic situation creates a frustrating/gratifying relationship. However too much frustration can exacerbate resistance to such a degree that the patient regresses, which can lead to psychosomatic illness and psychosis.

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