Research on the Couch: Single-case studies, subjectivity and psychoanalytic knowledge
Is psychoanalysis knowledge? Is psychoanalysis a science, or is it hermeneutics? Can clinical material be considered research data?
Psychoanalysis is ambiguous about whether it is about meaning or about truth, and the relations between these two compelling experiences Psychoanalysts often think of their work as closer to the humanities than to medical and natural science The wider the gap between science and psychoanalysis appears, the more psychoanalysts feel pulled to something that respects subjectivity, the humanity of their patients themselves, and move away from the procedures of natural science
Research on the Couch is a relevant and timely contribution to the current debate about both the nature and validity of psychoanalysis and its body of knowledge Freud always regarded his clinical material as his research data In this book R D Hinshelwood aims to explore that view and defend Freud’s claim whilst acknowledging the criticisms of single case studies and the inevitable problems for research into human subjectivity and personal experience To this end the book reviews Freud’s own methods of disseminating his discoveries, discusses the problem of evaluating different claims to psychoanalytic knowledge, and presents a cogent logical model for testing psychoanalytic theories clinically
This book evolves a model for the generation and justification of psychoanalytic knowledge, a ‘parascience’ just as rigorous as natural science, and one that addresses the subjectivity of meaning Research on the Couch will be of interest to psychoanalysts of all schools, academics, clinicians, students and those keen to further their knowledge of psychoanalytic studies