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Schachter, J. (2015). Response to Russell. Psychoanal. Rev., 102(2):229-231.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Review, 102(2):229-231

Response to Russell

Joseph Schachter, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Richard L. Russell's (2014) paper “Examination of Transforming Lives: Analyst and Patient View the Power of Psychoanalytic Treatment: Focusing on the Implications of Revealing Details of Treatments to Third Parties” criticized the psychoanalytic work of the contributors to this volume by asserting that our deviating from the “frame” had deleterious effects upon treatment. In the current paper I focus upon the research methodology necessary to assess Russell's critique. He closes his paper by asserting that “to attract young professionals psychoanalysis needs a rigorous plan of research” by which he apparently means research focused only on applying Langs's theory to instances of breaking the “frame.” Russell does not accept current methods of empirical research and the problems attendant upon that approach. He does not realize that the initial step is to define the subject to be studied and to deal with definitional problems. For example, empirical studies of the concept of transference are currently hampered by the absence of a consensual definition of transference (Schachter & Kächele, 2014).

Russell fails to take the first step, which is to provide a definition of Langs's theoretical concept of the “frame.” However, he claims as an example of a breaking of the “frame” that when a patient is asked to allow tape recording of treatment sessions, “he or she may agree to this at the manifest level but typically will harbor deep anxieties about the exposure and feel the therapist is betraying his or her trust” (p. 771). Russell added that “patients are exquisitely sensitive to frame breaks” (p. 771). (In Kächele's [2015] response in this issue to Russell's paper, he noted that while possible problems were recognized many years ago, that tape recording of sessions was essential for empirical study of psychoanalytic treatment.)


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