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Stolorow, R.D. (1990). Converting Psychotherapy to Psychoanalysis: A Critique of the Underlying Assumptions. Psychoanal. Inq., 10(1):119-130.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 10(1):119-130

Converting Psychotherapy to Psychoanalysis: A Critique of the Underlying Assumptions

Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D.

Underlying any consideration of the question of converting psychotherapy to psychoanalysis is a set of assumptions about what constitute the defining features that distinguish psychoanalysis from other modes of therapy. In this paper, I examine four such assumptions — or, as I prefer to call them, myths — about the essential nature of a psychoanalytic process.

1. The Myth of the Neutral Analyst

It is widely assumed that one feature distinguishing psychoanalysis from other therapies is the analyst's consistent adherence to a stance of “technical neutrality.” Indeed, according to Kernberg (Panel, 1987), it is the degree of the psychotherapist's deviation from technical neutrality that will determine the ease with which successful conversion to psychoanalysis can be achieved: the more neutral the therapist, the easier the shift will be (p. 720).

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