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Abrams, S. (1993). How People Get Better. Psychoanal. St. Child, 48:3-8.

(1993). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 48:3-8

Tribute to George S. Moran

How People Get Better

Samuel Abrams, M.D.

MY INTRODUCTION IS INTENDED TO SERVE TWO FUNCTIONS. ONE IS TO establish some continuity with past meetings; the second is to propose an outline for engaging this one.

This year's topic is how people get better. It can be usefully approached within a framework bordered by five linked issues.

1. Being well;

2. Becoming sick;

3. Getting better;

4. The vehicle for getting better;

5. Actualizing the vehicle.

In psychoanalysis we know these issues respectively as:

1. The concept of normality;

2. The theories of pathogenesis;

3. The mechanism of therapeutic action;

4. The therapeutic process;

5. The treatment relationship or contract.

In past meetings we have dealt with some of these issues, but our focus this weekend is upon the fourth of these five, the therapeutic process, the vehicle for conveying therapeutic action. However, as we have long since discovered, each issue is so inextricably linked with the others that it is not ever possible to discuss any one in isolation. It is regrettable that this is true because the psychoanalytic theories of normal mind, pathogenesis, treatment action, process, and contract are vast, complex, ambiguous, and even controversial regions.

It was not always the case.

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