1st Edition

Freud's Papers on Technique and Contemporary Clinical Practice

ISBN 9780815385752
Published July 16, 2018 by Routledge
240 Pages

USD $44.95

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Book Description

Freud’s Papers on Technique is usually treated as an assemblage of papers featuring a few dated rules of conduct that are either useful in some way, or merely customary, or bullying, arbitrary and presumptuous. Lawrence Friedman reveals Papers on Technique to be nothing of the sort. Freud’s book, he argues, is nothing less than a single, consecutive, real-time, log of Freud’s painful discovery of a unique mind-set that can be produced in patients by a certain stance of the analyst.

What people refer to as "the rules", such as anonymity, neutrality and abstinence, are the lessons Freud learned from painful experience when he tried to reproduce the new, free mind-set. Friedman argues that one can see Freud making this empirical discovery gradually over the sequence of papers. He argues that we cannot understand the famous images, such the analyst-as-surgeon, or mirror, without seeing how they figure in this series of experiments. Many of the arguments in the profession turn out to be unnecessary once this is grasped. Freud’s book is not a book of rules but a description of what happens if one does one thing or another; the choice is the therapist’s, as is the choice to use them together to elicit the analytic experience.

In the light of this understanding, Friedman discusses aspects of treatments that are guided by these principles, such as enactment, the frame, what lies beyond interpretation, the kind of tensions that are set up between analyst and patient, the question of special analytic love, the future of analytic technique, and a possible basis for defining Freudian psychoanalysis. Finally, he makes concrete suggestions for teaching the Papers on Technique.

Freud's Papers on Technique and Contemporary Clinical Practice will appeal to all psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists concerned about the empirical basis of their customary procedures and the future of their craft.

Table of Contents

Introduction to this Book


Preface to Chapter One: What is Papers on Technique?

Chapter One: Discovering How to Elicit the Psychoanalytic Phenomenon

Preface to Chapter Two: The Power of Being Personally Interested Without Wanting Anything

Chapter Two: Overview of Papers on Technique

Preface to Chapter Three. Working Through is the Patient’s Private Experience

Chapter Three: How to Pick Items out of the Flow of Process 


Introduction to Part Two

Chapter Four: What Lies Beyond Interpretation, and Is That the Right Question?

Chapter Five: Is There Life After Enactment?

Chapter Six: The Delicate Balance Between Work and Illusion

Chapter Seven: How and Why do Patients Become More Objective?

Chapter Eight: A Renaissance for Freud’s Papers on Technique


Introduction to Part Three

Chapter Nine Flirting with Virtual Reality

Chapter Ten Return to the Crucible

Chapter Eleven: Is There a Special Psychoanalytic Love?

Chapter Twelve: What Is Psychoanalysis?


Introduction to Part Four

Chapter Thirteen: Two Freuds or One?

Chapter Fourteen: The Future: "The Frame"

Chapter Fifteen: Author Interviews Himself

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Lawrence Friedman is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Weill-Cornell Medical College where he is a member of the Institute for the History of Psychiatry. He is also a member of the faculty of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Education, affiliated with the New York University School of Medicine. He maintains a private practice in New York City.


'In this extraordinary volume, Lawrence Friedman takes the reader on a guided tour of Freud’s Papers on Technique. No one is better equipped to lead us on such a journey, as Friedman has devoted his professional life to unearthing Freud’s hidden meanings and unspoken intentions. He is the leading expositor of Freud’s ideas in our time. His breadth and depth of thought is breathtaking. He repeatedly discovers nuances in Freud’s thinking that somehow escaped detection by the rest of us. I literally found it difficult to turn off my screen and stop reading it. I lost sleep as a result, but have no regrets. It is the freshest and most absorbing book on Freud that I can remember. If you start reading it, you will return to it again and again. Do not miss it!'-Glen O. Gabbard, MD, Editor, Textbook of Psychoanalysis

'Lawrence Friedman, one of our most incisive interrogators of psychoanalysis, describes how a treasured part of the psychoanalytic canon, Freud’s Papers on Technique, has been misunderstood. Rather than a clear set of clinical rules, Friedman insists that it is actually a book of discovery, Freud’s continuous "lab" journal of the psychoanalytic phenomenon. He documents how Freud’s consultation room encounter was a process of empirical discovery, unfolding in unexpectedly troubling ways which led to the revolutionary understanding of the human condition.'-Robert Alan Glick, M.D., Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and former Director of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research

'Friedman’s book offers the reader a harvest of a professional lifetime of devoted scholarship, rigorous clinical work, teaching prized around the world, and an empathic imagination possessed by only the most gifted psychoanalytic thinkers. He takes us inside Freud’s mind as he is being pulled by his patients, against expectation and wish, to bring psychoanalysis into being. Dr. Friedman takes us on a thrilling ride, sharing with us the best kin of discovery – a more profound knowledge of the human condition and of our individual selves.'-Shelley Orgel, M.D., Past Director of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Education, NYU Medical Center

"Larry Friedman has provided the definitive reader’s guide to Freud’s "Papers on Technique." He points out that these papers really constitute an integrated book that is itself a guide for the fledgling analyst. Friedman, writing with his customary personal and engaging style, tells us that as Freud gradually discovered the psychoanalytic phenomenon, he was pressed to invent psychoanalytic technique in order to avoid interfering with the development of the phenomenon. His discovery and invention occurred while psychoanalysis was evolving from its initial focus on the retrieval of repressed memories to its more mature emphasis on the integration of disavowed desires."-Robert Michels, M.D., Walsh McDermott University Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, Cornell University; Former Joint Editor-in-Chief, The International Journal of Psychoanalysis