A HISTORICAL REPRISE: SOME OBSERVATIONS ON PROGRESS IN PSYCHOANALYSIS

Abstract

The papers from the American Journal of Psychoanalysis 1956 and 1965 roundtables on what is effective in the therapeutic process are viewed through the lens of psychoanalysis’ evolution over the past 50–60 years. With the passage of time, the contributions of the Interpersonal School to mainstream psychoanalysis have become clearer, especially with respect to mutative factors in the patient-analyst relationship. These papers from the 50s and 60s are also products of the internecine battles of the time, in which the different schools of psychoanalysis tried to claim absolute truth and assert hegemony in the field. The author argues that real progress in psychoanalysis has occurred through research and clinical/theoretical discovery, yielding an informed pluralism that mirrors the diversity and complexity of our work with patients.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Notes

  1. 1.

    The Roundtable Discussion, “What is effective in the therapeutic process?” took place at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Chicago, Illinois on May 1, 1956. Bella S. Van Bark, M.D. moderated the panel. Other presenters were Elizabeth Kilpatrick, M.D., Lewis Wolberg, M.D., Marianne Horney Eckardt, M.D., Frederick A. Weiss, M.D., Leslie H. Farber, M.D., Louis E. DeRosis, M.D., and Silvano Arieti, M.D.

  2. 2.

    The Scientific Program Committee of the Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis, under the chairmanship of Dr. Frederick A. Weiss, arranged the Roundtable Discussion, “What Leads to Basic Change in Psychoanalytic Therapy?” at the New York Academy of Medicine in the Spring of 1964. Melvin Boigon, M.D. moderated the panel. Other participants were Alfred H. Rifkin, M.D., William V. Silverberg, M.D., and Frederick A. Weiss, M.D.

References

  1. Axelrod, S. (1999). Work and the evolving self. London and Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Boigon, M. (1965). What leads to basic change in psychoanalytic therapy? A roundtable discussion. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 25, 129–141. (Republished in: R. Prince (Ed.) (2015). Special Issue. What is effective in psychoanalytic psychotherapy? A historical reprise. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(2), 223–225.

  3. Pine, F. (2011). Beyond pluralism: Psychoanalysis and the workings of mind. The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 80 (4), 823–856.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Prince, R. (2015). (Ed.) Introduction. Special issue. What is effective in psychoanalytic psychotherapy? A historical reprise. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75 (2), 121–125.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Van Bark, B. (1957). What is effective in the therapeutic process? A roundtable discussion. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 17, 3–3. (Republished in: R. Prince (Ed.) (2015). Special Issue. What is effective in psychoanalytic psychotherapy? A historical reprise. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(2), 173–175.

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Steven D Axelrod.

Additional information

This reaction paper is part of the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the American Journal of Psychoanalysis, Special Issue, guest edited by Dr. Robert M. Prince. Other responders to the 1956 and 1964 AJP Roundtables are: Drs. Sheldon Itzkowitz, Emily Kuriloff, Ronald C. Naso and Larry M. Rosenberg.

1Steven D. Axelrod, Ph.D., Contributing Editor to DIVISION/Review; Member of the American Psychological Association's Division 39 Research Committee and Fund for Psychoanalysis Task Force; Principal of the Boswell Group (a network of psychoanalytic organizational consultants). He has an independent practice in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis and in executive advising in NYC.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Axelrod, S. A HISTORICAL REPRISE: SOME OBSERVATIONS ON PROGRESS IN PSYCHOANALYSIS. Am J Psychoanal 75, 134–138 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1057/ajp.2015.14

Download citation

Keywords

  • history of psychoanalysis
  • progress in psychoanalysis
  • pluralism in psychoanalysis
  • mutative factors in psychoanalysis