Unorthodox Freud: The View from the Couch

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9781572301283: Unorthodox Freud: The View from the Couch
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Offering a fresh new look at how Freud practised psychoanalysis, this book draws upon the five existing full-length accounts of Freud's analyses written by the patients themselves. Focusing upon Freud's definition of the primary task of treatment and the division of labor between himself and his patient, the authors compare the five cases - as well as the cases of the Rat Man and the Wolf Man - both to Freud's own papers on the technique and to current ideals of mainstream analytic treatment. Their findings reveal an unexpected Freud, an active, personal, and emotionally engaged clinician quite different from the dominant image of the Freudian analyst as uninvolved, neutral interpreter of transference and resistance. Raising important questions about the nature of the primary task, the pitfalls of task displacement, and the roles of neutrality and authority, this book makes a valuable contribution to current psychoanalytical dialogue. This book will be of interest to psychoanalysts and psychodynamic therapists, as well as students and trainees in the fields and others interested in Freud and the history of psychoanalytic technique.

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Review:

"Spanning the decades, this volume offers both a fascinating glimpse into Freud's consulting room and a series of intriguing and insightful perspectives on contemporary practice. The book makes clear that what has come to be called 'classical' technique bears little resemblance to what Freud actually did. In reintroducing us to the human being who sat behind the couch, the authors contribute to helping the next generation of analysts to liberate themselves from the invented orthodoxies that for many years obscured the true tenor of Freud's practice and constrained the spirit of innovation that was its essence." --Paul L. Wachtel, Ph.D., CUNY Distinguished Professor, City University of New York

"In Freud at Work, Lohser and Newton have given us the most complete and readable account of Freud's struggle to wisen up, if not heal, a fascinating sample of the first several generations of analytic patients. The book holds our attention like a good novel and is also a first-class short course in Freud's clinical theories as they played themselves out in the clashes of personalities that occurred in the world's most famous consulting room." --Charles Spezzano, Ph.D., Psychoanalyst and author of What to Do Between Birth and Death and Affects in Psychoanalysis: A Clinical Synthesis

"An impressive and illuminating addition to the burgeoning field of Freud scholarship and Freudiana. The authors examine the gulf between Freud's actual technique (and the theory of the nature of the curative process on which it is based) and the modern re-interpretations of it which have been codified as the 'basic model technique, ' by exploring in detail the five extant book-length accounts of their analyses with Freud, written by Abram Kardiner, H.D., Joseph Wortis, John Dorsey, and Smiley Blanton. They demonstrate convincingly the one-sided interpretation of Freud's papers of technique, which led to the austere 'modern' model of psychoanalysis that has departed so radically from Freud's actual techniques, as displayed so revealingly by the accounts of these five analysts. Important reading for everyone interested in the historical evolution of psychoanalysis as theory and technique and theory of technique." --Robert S. Wallerstein, M.D., Past President, American Psychoanalytic Association; Past President, International Psychoanalytical Association

From the Back Cover:

Was Sigmund Freud a "Freudian"? If "Freudian" means an uninvolved, neutral interpreter of transference and resistance, the answer, according to this fascinating new book, is no, he was not. Based on existing full-length accounts by patients who were treated by Freud in the 1920s and '30s, this volume reveals an unexpected Freud - one who is quite different from the current stereotype. Presented together for the first time, these vivid, intimate biographies of the analytic process provide an illuminating close-up of Sigmund Freud at work. Through the words of his own patients, the reader is introduced to an organized, persistent, personally engaged, and expressive clinician who relied on free association, rather than transference and resistance analysis, to move the treatment. The authors examine these cases, along with those of the well-known Rat Man and Wolf Man, to see how Freud organized the treatment dyad in terms of its primary task and the division of labor between himself and his patient. They then compare their findings with Freud's papers on technique and with the dominant ideals of mainstream, contemporary psychoanalysis. Contrary to the capricious Freud of in-house clinical lore, the starched Freud of Strachey's Standard Edition, and the blank screen of traditional orthodoxy, Lohser and Newton demonstrate that Freud was explicit about defining the primary task (making the unconscious conscious), directively instituted free association as the means to accomplish the task, and actively monitored his patient's compliance with it. The authors also demonstrate the implications of Freud's actual approach for the nature of the analytic relationship. Since Freud relied on freeassociation, rather than transference and resistance analysis, he could be more spontaneous and personal. In contrast, by making transference analysis the engine of the treatment, the contemporary clinician ends up subordinating the entirety of his or her behavior to protecting the transference; neutrality, unilaterality, and extreme abstinence are inevitable consequences. This may be a good way to do psychoanalysis, but it turns out not to be Freudian. Opening an important debate about the nature of Freudian practice as Sigmund Freud himself practiced it, Lohser and Newton contend that the cases presented in this volume clearly demonstrate that the dominant image of the Freudian analyst is not, in fact, classical, but rather a neo-orthodox stereotype.

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