The conceptualisation and communication of clinical facts: a consideration of the 75th anniversary edition IJPA.Int J Psychoanal. 1995 Dec; 76 (Pt 6):1179-90.IJ
The contributors to the Anniversary Edition of the IJPA attempt to respond to the Babel of ideas within contemporary psychoanalysis and to grapple with our methodology for discovering and validating our facts. Underlying this ambitious endeavour is the complex question of the status of psychoanalysis as a discipline--is it science, art, hermeneutics, or religion? Those who contribute to the volume have varying points of view on this question, reinforcing our ongoing confusion of tongues. The author argues that while we must tread very carefully to preserve the creativity and art of our discipline, we desperately need to address the basic science of psychoanalysis. Whether, and to what extent, we can succeed in doing so will perhaps best answer the question of what kind of discipline psychoanalysis is or can be. Many of us wish to view psychoanalysis as capable of scientific discourse and yet remain very ambivalent about embracing scientific methodology. What is unique to psychoanalysis must not be lost in turning to empirical research, nor in facile, 'reductive' translations to other models from other disciplines. However, if we are to make the claims of a scientific method, we must accept the burdens of it as well. In this regard, the author argues in favour of machines and brain, and against those who view such methods as 'radically' empiricist or reductionist. To truly test and reject our hypotheses, we must creatively and adaptively make use of empirical research methods that historically we have been very reluctant to embrace.