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Rawn, M.L. (1974). The Present Utility of Classical Analysis. Psychoanal. Rev., 61(3):457-473.

(1974). Psychoanalytic Review, 61(3):457-473

The Present Utility of Classical Analysis

Moss L. Rawn, Ph.D.

As we all know, very little in psychoanalytic theory, let alone practice, is universally accepted by all analysts. Nearly every subject in our field continues to be shrouded in controversy, conflicting claims, and precious little agreement. Perhaps one of the best examples of this is the issues surrounding classical analysis, its definition and technique. What follows is an attempt to sketch the main lines of several important technical issues in the current practice of psychoanalysis.

A recent summarizing article by Wallerstein, written in 1969, emphasizes our interest in “The Present Utility of Classical Analysis.” Wallerstein's paper is drawn from his introduction to a panel discussion at the Rome Congress of the International Psychoanalytic Association and deals with the relationship of psychoanalysis to psychotherapy. He says the goals, aims, technique, methods, patients, therapeutic activity, treatment values, and relationship to time are all different in the two approaches. Furthermore, he writes that although there have been many attempts to define psychoanalysis, the American Psychoanalytic Association has never been able to arrive at a definition that would satisfy the majority of the membership. Not only that, but he, quoting Rangell, says that what constitutes psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and transitional forms likewise have never been described in a manner that would meet majority agreement.

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