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Gullestad, S.E. (1996). Evaluating psychoanalytic therapy. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 19(1):60-72.

(1996). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 19(1):60-72

Evaluating psychoanalytic therapy

Siri Erika Gullestad

The article discusses problems pertinent to the evaluation of psychoanalytic therapy. Psychoanalytic therapy aims at changes that are unique, and that are difficult to capture objectively. Traditional outcome research has not yet managed to capture these changes in a systematic way. Therefore, comparative research has not done justice to the distinctive character of psychoanalytic therapy. The author argues that the transference, expressing structures of internalized object-relations, occupies a privileged position as an observational basis for therapeutic change. Countertransference represents a royal road to capturing affective qualities of old, repetitive dialogues, and thereby attains status as a tool of research, specifically aimed at registering changes in interactional patterns, that are particular to psychoanalytic therapy. As long as satisfactory solutions to the complex methodological problems connected with evaluating psychoanalytic therapy, have not been found, the time has not yet come for comprehensive comparative research.

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