Symbolfunktion och mening : En undersökning av den psykoanalytiska psykoterapins artegna väsen

Sammanfattning: This work in two parts – entitled Symbolic Function and Meaning: An Investigation of the Species-Specific Essence of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy – could be characterized as an interpretation of the above-mentioned therapy and the meaning of its particular experience. In the first part, besides a licentiate thesis, four topics are examined: the therapeutic framework, the transference – especially in neurotic form – and its interpretation, psychotherapy with borderline patients, and therapy with psychotics. This has been done by combining studies of literature with analyses of the transference meaning of a number of illuminative clinical examples or vignettes – anecdotes, i.e. narratives with a significant point – the main part of which are the outcome of the author’s own activity in the form of participant observation as a psychotherapist. The general conclusion is that promoting the symbolic function is the essential ingredient in the psychoanalytic form of therapy – its very rationality – and how it effectuates its unique therapeutic potentiality; a characterization which, despite obvious differences in the adequacy of symbolic functioning, is valid irrespective of whether the patient is diagnosed as neurotic, borderline or psychotic. In the second part – essentially of a theoretical nature in contrast to the preceding one – the study is influenced by philosophical hermeneutics, and in this process assimilates its particular conceptuality. The continued analysis of the research object shows that it is misleading, in view of its ontology, to conceptualize it in medical terms as treatment. Aimed at promoting the symbolic function by the transference being interpreted, psychoanalytic psychotherapy instead operates in an ethical dimension and is rather what Aristotle terms a praxis, on the one hand; on the other hand, it is moreover implicitly human science action research into intersubjective appropriation of meaning. In this latter respect, the investigation highlights the fact that the very special interview method in the form of free associations, with their reflexivity, gives the psychoanalytic form of psychotherapy the potential to be not only a qualitative research method but also simultaneously metaresearch. The analyses of the transference meaning of clinical anecdotes in the first part have thereby been able to be methodologically clarified retroactively as psychoanalytic metaresearch.