Scientific Research on Psychoanalysis

Scientific Research on Psychoanalysis

Due to the specificity of psychoanalysis as a therapeutic method and a method of scientific research, a significant number of research worldwide is conducted on the subject of psychoanalysis as a therapeutic method, but also on other phenomena used to test the theoretical postulates of psychoanalysis. In the scope of our Society as well as outside of it, our members who are engaged in scientific work conducted certain research, while some are ongoing.

Assessment of Suitability for Psychoanalysis

The research was conducted by Boris Kordić for his doctoral thesis with the help of Tatjana Vukosavljević-Gvozden and Goran Knežević from the Department of Psychology of the University of Belgrade. Psychoanalysts from the Belgrade Psychoanalytical Society and their clients participated in the study.

The aim of this study was to investigate personality factors that contribute to the success of psychoanalytical treatment and the possibility of their assessment. The aim of this study, unlike the previous ones that dealt only with the traits of clients, was also to investigate the influence of analysts and their skills and competencies. Suitability for psychoanalysis (in the broad sense) is defined as a potential state (suitability in the narrow sense) in the analysand client which is activated within the psychoanalytical situation (analysability) and favors the optimal development of the analytical process under the influence of both analysand and analyst, thus gradually leading to the creation of the self-analytic function.

In the scope of this research, the clients filled the Suitability Self-Assessment questionnaire and the Disintegration of Regulatory Functions questionnaire (which measures personality traits associated with severe pathologies), while analysts filled the Assessment of Suitability questionnaire. It was found that the Suitability measures are clearly distinguished among other personality traits which justifies the use of this term.

The dimensions of personality suitable for psychoanalysis were extracted, namely Introspectiveness, Affective Engagement and Absorption. Based on them, the following traits suitable for psychoanalysis can be singled out: interest in the inner world (dreams and fantasies), self-reflexivity, contemplation upon psychological motives of behavior, interest in people, good affective modulation, emotional liveliness, interest in future, synesthesia, increased awareness, increased cognition, and strong responsiveness to aesthetic stimuli.

It was found that individuals that scored low on the Disintegration of Regulatory Functions questionnaire have high Suitability. In order to obtain successful results from psychoanalysis in case of moderate Suitability in people with weaker personality integration (higher values on the Disintegration of Regulatory Functions questionnaire), it was shown that the client should have higher Introspectiveness, Absorption and Affective Engagement. As the Suitability gets lower, the discrepancies between the evaluation of analysts and the self-evaluation of clients becomes more pronounced. This means that the role of the analyst is much more significant in the treatment of people with weaker personality integration. In cases when people have weaker faith in the outcome of treatment, the role of the positive evaluation of the analyst is more significant. In the opposite case, when a client has faith in the outcome, while an analyst is doubtful, it is better to change the analyst in order to obtain better mutual compatibility.

The study confirms the psychoanalysis as a form of psychotherapy that contains rich resources for helping those who believe they can no longer be helped.

The complete survey was printed as a doctoral thesis and can be found here.