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Krasner, R.F. (1984). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, XVIII. 1982: The Choice of Clinical Methods. Leston L. Havens. Pp. 16-42.. Psychoanal Q., 53:340.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Contemporary Psychoanalysis, XVIII. 1982: The Choice of Clinical Methods. Leston L. Havens. Pp. 16-42.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53:340

Contemporary Psychoanalysis, XVIII. 1982: The Choice of Clinical Methods. Leston L. Havens. Pp. 16-42.

Ronald F. Krasner

Havens's central thesis is that if a therapist is unable to decide whether what he has heard from his patient is fact or fantasy, the clinical method he has employed is outmoded. Newer methods are now available which can increase the precision of clinical observation. The psychoanalytic (free associative) and interrogative methods, the "older" schools, have produced a number of assumptions in the attempt to offset the two major difficulties in the reliability of psychological observation: the lack of quantitative methods and the effects of the observer on the observed. The newer methods, existential (empathic) and interpersonal, do not make these assumptions and thus overcome the limitations of the older ones. The first assumption is that of pathological location. While the older methods rely on psychic reality, which is seen as unreliable, the newer methods combat this by locating pathology by "holding loosely," or "one no longer assumes that one knows who is sick." The assumption of credulity or skepticism toward clinical material is offset in the new methods by using credulity and skepticism as tools rather than as dicta. This is accomplished by a "suspension of knowing." Psychoanalytic asymmetry, the third assumption, implies the superior wisdom and objectivity of the therapist. Here again, the newer methods are superior. As Havens states, "In theory, by disappearing as a separate object, which receives transference and generates countertransference, psychoanalytic asymmetry is destroyed." Finally, corporealization of the mind, the assumption that the mind, like the body, can be in a place, is negated in the newer approaches—by active empathy in the existential method and by the deflection of various projections of the therapist made by the patient in the interpersonal method.

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Article Citation

Krasner, R.F. (1984). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, XVIII. 1982. Psychoanal. Q., 53:340

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