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Schroeder, T. (1935). What is a Psychologic Recovery?. Psychoanal. Rev., 22(3):258-273.

(1935). Psychoanalytic Review, 22(3):258-273

What is a Psychologic Recovery?

Theodore Schroeder

How and why does psychoanalysis, or any other method of psychotherapy, improve the symptoms of, or cure, functional neuroses? What is a cure, anyhow? It is as true now as when Dr. H. W. Frink wrote it, that the psychoanalysts “have made no serious attempt to account for the results of analysis.” If psychoanalysis has not yet grown from an art to being a science, then our question requires no answer. Here it will be assumed that psychoanalysis has reached the scientific stage. Then our first problem is to explain generally what we mean by a psychologic recovery. Next we ask: What are its subjective factors and their objective conditions ? Then the ground is prepared for a restatement of the psychoanalytic method for supplying the curative conditions.

Naturally, our conception of a psychologic recovery will be largely determined by our conception of science. In our day science is something more than an accumulation of classified observation. Modern scientists tend to emphasize its method of investigation, as one that is constantly growing in objectivity. Then, as a method, it no longer deals with static nature, but studies the force-aspect of nature's behavior, and the controlling conditions of that behavior.

If a psychoanalyst is that kind of a scientist, then he will be concerned primarily with the subjective aspect of the recovery-process, and with the conditions thereof. Here we part company with those “psychologists” who ignore the psyche. The inner processes will be thought of in connection with the present objective stimulus and with the prior inner preparedness, as that is conditioned by all of the past experiences of the analysand.

Of course this knowledge of psychologic processes must include the evolutionary process of a wholesome psychologic maturing (or sublimation). We may think of this psychologic maturing in the older fashion of the descriptive psychology, and consider evolution as being only a matter of physical and overt behavior-changes. We can also think of it as a growth toward the affirmation of some “important” conventionally-accepted opinions.

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