Direct Analysis

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Direct analysis is a therapeutic technique developed by John Rosen for the treatment of schizophrenics. Rosen began from the basic postulate that serious pathologies have their origins in inadequate or poor maternal care. As the result of such care, the patient is psychically a baby and must be treated as such, with unconditional love from a caregiver. This lead Rosen in some cases to assume the nearly continuous care of a single patient for several weeks, and sometimes several months, while actively trying to shake up or pierce the patient's defensive shell through so-called "direct" interventions (including violent physical contact).

Rosen's position was appealing because of its optimistic slant (its assumption that if the therapist does not know where he is going, the patient's unconscious would), because of the courage and sacrifice required of the therapist (whose personal life was thereby relegated to the background), and without doubt because of the generous but obviously simplistic nature of the etiological theory involved. At its most extreme, Rosen's technique is not so very different from that proposed by Sándor Ferenczi before Freud convinced him to abandon it. Yet on a theoretical level, Rosen's theory obviously misinterprets the central role of conflict in psychic pathology, and on a practical level, his technique ignores the obvious risks of uncontrolled counter-transference.

Roger Perron

See also: Schizophrenia.


Rosen, John. (1953). Direct analysis. New York: Grune and Stratton.