Some methods used in the study of affect in psychotherapy
The early psychoanalytic formulations were primarily in terms of affectivity. Catharsis is a prime example of just such a formulation (Freud, 1955). Later the major concern of the psychoanalytic formulations was in regard to other aspects of psychic life. The genetic, dynamic and structural viewpoints provided a focus which overshadowed interest in the affect theory. Further exploration of the place of affect in normal and abnormal development of personality was relegated to passing references in the literature on technique. Nevertheless, affect remained a central focus in psychic function, psychopathology, and psychotherapy. Brierly, in 1951, pointed out that patients always forced this on psychoanalysts. The appearance of essays on affect in recent years suggests some revival of primary interest in affective states and processes (e.g., de Saussure, 1950, 1959; Greenson, 1953; Lewin, 1950; Novey, 1959; and Rangell, 1955). Some recent papers from our own group may be added to the list (e.g., Alexander, 1960; Alexander and Isaacs, 1963; Isaacs, Alexander and Haggard, 1963; Alexander and Isaacs, 1964; and Isaacs and Alexander, in press).
KeywordsAffective Attitude Affect Word Psychic Life Affect Theory Affective Capacity
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