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Lasswell, H.D. (1935). Verbal References and Physiological Changes During the Psychoanalytic Interview: A Preliminary Communication. Psychoanal. Rev., 22(1):10-24.

(1935). Psychoanalytic Review, 22(1):10-24

Verbal References and Physiological Changes During the Psychoanalytic Interview: A Preliminary Communication

Harold D. Lasswell

The psychoanalytic interview situation is especially well adapted to the objective approach common to American psychology, social psychology, and social science, since the psychoanalyst is able to make repeated observations of the behavior of subjects under comparatively stable conditions. This advantage of consistent observational standpoint is of course lost to science insofar as the methods of observing and of reporting are defective.

On account of the lack of uniformity in reporting practice, existing case history records and case summaries are very difficult to compare with one another. No standard conventions have been agreed upon to show the chronological order of the reported data, or to indicate how the interviewer behaved with reference to the material presented by the subject. Thus the statement may be found that the subject recognized his murderous aggressions toward the interviewer, but it may be impossible to determine whether this came early in the interview series (ninth or tenth) with no interpretation of this kind being offered by the psychoanalyst, or whether it emerged at the fiftieth interview, after the psychoanalyst had commented several times on the hostilities which the subject seemed to be exhibiting toward him (twentieth, thirtieth, forty-fifth, forty-seventh, fiftieth interviews). The behavior of the subject and of the interviewer is left uncertain in the absence of standard procedure showing which interpretations were presented, and in what order, and what forms of reaction were presented by the subject, and in what order. Since it is not common practice, despite unsatisfactory reporting methods, to report counter-indications to the interpretative or the analytical conceptions employed by the analyst, the literature abounds in case extracts which fit with procrustean agility into the current conceptions of the investigator.

The methods of reporting physiological changes are no more uniform than for reporting words uttered by subject and interviewer.

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