The February 2011 issue of History of the Human Sciences is now out and includes an article by Anne Sealey entitled “The strange case of the Freudian case history: the role of long case histories in the development of psychoanalysis”. The abstract reads:
Sigmund Freud’s five long case histories have been the focus of seemingly endless fascination and criticism. This article examines how the long case-history genre developed and its impact on the professionalization of psychoanalysis. It argues that the long case histories, using a distinctive form that highlighted the peculiarities of psychoanalytic theory, served as exemplars in the discipline. In doing so, the article extends John Forrester’s work on ‘thinking in cases’ to show the practical implications of that style of reasoning. The article illustrates how the form disappeared once the theoretical basis of the movement was set. The genre never became institutionalized, although the content of the five long case histories did, because of Freud’s accepted role as theoretician of psychoanalysis.
Another article, by Stewart Justman, is entitled “From medicine to psychotherapy: the placebo effect” and its abstract reads:
If placebos have been squeezed out of medicine to the point where their official place is in clinical trials designed to identify their own confounding effect, the placebo effect nevertheless thrives in psychotherapy. Not only does psychotherapy dispose of placebo effects that are less available to medicine as it becomes increasingly technological and preoccupied with body parts, but factors of the sort inhibiting the use of placebos in medicine have no equivalent in psychology. Medicine today is disturbed by the placebo effect in a way psychotherapy is not. Psychotherapy does not have to grapple with such a disconcerting paradox as successful sham surgery, and unlike those physicians who once pretended to treat the patient’s body while actually attempting to treat the mind, the psychotherapist can treat the mind in all frankness. Perhaps it is because psychotherapy is less burdened by doubts about the placebo effect that it was able to come to its aid when it was orphaned by medicine. It is vain to expect something with so long a history as the placebo effect to disappear from the practices of healing.
More information, as well as a complete table of contents, can be found at here.