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Monday, 31 December 2018


Analyst are getting elated if not excited about the IPA's push toward encouraging research  in psychoanalysis.

Dr. Lear, who has a good position to examine  psychoanalysts' conception of research, gave some valuable comments that he and his team require to support research in Chicago University. I believe most analysts should think of those comments to balance out their excited enthusiasm  about research.

Dr. Jonathan Lear's remarks about research in psychoanalysis are important in putting us in a true perspective of what research is and in psychoanalysis in particular.

To start,: there are three questions that we should begin with answering: Why do we need research in psychoanalysis? What do we need to research in psychoanalysis? Who will be doing the research?

The first question: Psychoanalysis reached its peak in the seventies of last century without any thoughts regarding research, because what it offered (discovering the intrapsychic core of the subject) was remarkably evident and palpable to everyone. It was not an issue of whether it existed or not. Discovering the intrapsychic stimulated other human sciences to conduct researches in their own  fields of interest. child and social psychology are examples. We should keep in mind that those were investigations and not research. It is IMPOSSIBLE to do research in the humanities more so in psychoanalysis.

The second question: Most of what has been expressed till  now was about proving the effectiveness of psychoanalysis (as therapy). This issue (is psychoanalysis effective or more effective than other therapies) requires research of the "experimental type" to come up with answers of yes or no.  The experimental type of research is based on comparing two axact  samples of the research material, change only one aspect in one of the two samples to find out if that experimental change gives an answer of yes or no.  We cannot select two axat groups of patients (age, education, intelligence, etc., and degree of neuroses) plus two similar  groups of psychoanalysts (especially that we do not have one psychoanalysis or system of training) to conduct a scientific research.

The third question is of  who will do the research. It does not need too much fidgeting about that. Nothing in our training qualifies us to do research or investigations. The reasons are boring to mention and would be of no interest to people who think that they know the results of the  research and the investigation beforehand.

 Dr. Lear's description of some of the misunderstandings of the ethics of research are waking up calls to the analysts who think that research in psychoanalysis will solve the problem of its loss of its credibility. The loss of the credibility of psychoanalysis is not going to be managed by some ill guided or unrealistic research conceptions. It will be regained when we produce credible psychoanalysis, as was he case fifty years ago.   

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