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McAloon, R.F. (1992). A Historical Survey of Psychoanalytic Research. Mod. Psychoanal., 17(2):161-182.

(1992). Modern Psychoanalysis, 17(2):161-182

A Historical Survey of Psychoanalytic Research

Rose F. McAloon, M. Phil.

After psychoanalytic candidates have gained clinical experience, the undertaking of a research project offers them an opportunity to focus their attention on particular aspects of the clinical experience and to conceptualize the insights to be gained from the large amounts of material offered to them during therapeutic sessions. These research projects play an important part in psychoanalytic training at modern psychoanalytic institutes where completion of such a project is the final requirement for certification.

Students approach this project with both great anticipation and dread. They feel anticipation because they are filled with the fantasies that completing the final requirement of their psychoanalytic training arouses. They feel dread because they are uncertain of what this “research” is that they are being asked to conduct, and of whether they will be able to measure up to this awesome task. In actuality, many of the candidates come from other disciplines, the social sciences, psychology and academia, and have had experiences with conducting and writing about research. Now, the question foremost in their mind is: “What is psychoanalytic research, and, how is it different from other research I already know about?”

This core question has occupied the attention of many psychoanalytic researchers during the last ninety years.

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