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Colby, K.M. (1952). British Journal of Medical Psychology. XXIV, 1951: The Scientific Testing of Psychoanalytic Findings and Theory. I: E. Stengel. Pp. 26–29. II: H. Ezriel. Pp. 30–34. III: B. A. Farrell. Pp. 35–41.. Psychoanal Q., 21:452-453.
    
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: British Journal of Medical Psychology. XXIV, 1951: The Scientific Testing of Psychoanalytic Findings and Theory. I: E. Stengel. Pp. 26–29. II: H. Ezriel. Pp. 30–34. III: B. A. Farrell. Pp. 35–41.

(1952). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 21:452-453

British Journal of Medical Psychology. XXIV, 1951: The Scientific Testing of Psychoanalytic Findings and Theory. I: E. Stengel. Pp. 26–29. II: H. Ezriel. Pp. 30–34. III: B. A. Farrell. Pp. 35–41.

Kenneth Mark Colby

The first paper by Stengel roughly surveys experimental attempts to validate psychoanalytic concepts. The results are meager thus far and new approaches will have to be conceived to do justice to the complexity of the problems.

Ezriel insists that experimental methods require the observation of here and now phenomena in situations which allow us to test whether a number of defined conditions will produce a certain predicted event. He describes the analytic interview as such a situation. One law characteristic of this situation is that if the therapist points out an unconscious impulse and the fantasy-determined reason for its rejection, then the subsequent material will contain the hitherto unconscious impulse in a less repressed form. His overemphasis of present situations, however, leads Ezriel to declare that psychoanalysis has become an ahistorical science concerned only with the interaction between analyst and patient.

The welcome voice of a philosopher appears in the third paper to tell us to watch our language, particularly words like 'testing' and 'theory'. One does not test a finding or a theory. We test hypotheses and certain propositions of a theory. Farrell, admitting he is an 'outsider', feels that the disconformation of Oedipal and other genetic propositions is sufficient to require a modification

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of psychoanalytic theory. His reasons, however, are based on evidence from papers in the literature which 'insiders' know are pitifully crude and inadequate.

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Article Citation

Colby, K.M. (1952). British Journal of Medical Psychology. XXIV, 1951. Psychoanal. Q., 21:452-453

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