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Should supportive measures and relational variables be considered a part of psychoanalytic technique? Some empirical considerations

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Abstract

This article presents some quantitative findings from a survey of 89 psychoanalysts (all members of the American Psychoanalytic Association or the International Psychoanalytical Association) about their own experiences in analysis. A comprehensive questionnaire was used to collect retrospective data about (1) how participants felt they benefited from their analyses and (2) how they remembered their analysts’ technique, personality, and style of relating. A correlational analysis found that, according to our participants’ ratings, the most beneficial analyses were associated with having a caring and emotionally engaged analyst who possessed positive relational and personality qualities, used supportive techniques in addition to classical techniques, and pursued therapeutic as well as analytic goals. Outcomes rated as successful were also associated with experiencing a good ‘fit’, a good working relationship, and a positive therapeutic alliance. Our results support the call for an expanded view of acceptable analytic technique (e.g. Schacter and Kächele, 2007).

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