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J Am Psychoanal Assoc. 2010 Oct;58(5):861-87. doi: 10.1177/0003065110390210.

The role of the couch in psychoanalysis: proposed research designs and some preliminary data.

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Psychoanalytic Institute of New England, East (PINE), USA.


Ever since Freud, the couch has been viewed as an important--some would argue essential--component of psychoanalysis. Although many theoretical papers and case reports have addressed the use of the couch in psychoanalysis, no empirical study has investigated its effect on psychoanalytic process or outcome. After a review of the literature, a number of research designs are proposed that might be used in such an investigation. Finally, preliminary empirical data are presented from archived audiotapes of two psychoanalyses: one in which the patient switched from lying down to sitting up, and one in which the opposite occurred. The aim is to stimulate research-oriented psychoanalysts to undertake empirical investigations of the theoretical concepts underlying use of the couch and, more generally, to present a specific example of research as a paradigm for a broader research agenda for empirical investigation of the key theoretical ideas underlying psychoanalysis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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