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Arlow, J.A. Brenner, C. (1990). The Psychoanalytic Process. Psychoanal Q., 59:678-692.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:678-692

The Psychoanalytic Process

Jacob A. Arlow, M.D. and Charles Brenner, M.D.


Analysts differ in how they conceptualize the psychoanalytic process, according to their understanding of the psychoanalytic theory of mental functioning in general and the nature of pathogenesis in particular. Emphasizing that psychoanalysis is a psychology of mental conflict, the authors see the psychoanalytic process in terms of the dynamic interplay between the manifestations of the patient's unconscious and the analyst's interventions. What analysts communicate to analysands serves to destabilize the equilibrium of forces within the mind, leading to the analysands' growing understanding of the nature of their conflicts and how they deal with them. Psychoanalytic process, accordingly, cannot be distinguished or separated from psychoanalytic technique.

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