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Psychoanalytic Treatment as Education

THOMAS S. SZASZ, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1963;9(1):46-52. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1963.01720130048005.
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Inherent in the words that describe the psychoanalytic situation is the idea that the analyst exerts a therapeutic influence on his patient. This view is part of that larger perspective which regards the person seeking help as a "patient" suffering from a "mental illness." I have commented elsewhere9,10 on the entrapment of psychoanalysis in the semantics of medicine and shall say no more about it here. For the purposes of this essay, I shall assume that psychoanalytic treatment is best conceptualized as a form of education. The term "education," however, means many things. Hence, I shall try to describe psychoanalysis as a particular kind of educational experience.

The Historical Background  If psychoanalysis had not been discovered by physicians working with so-called hysterical patients, the nature of the analytic process would have been formulated differently. The psychoanalytic situation was defined as a therapeutic one because Anna O.

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