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Spontaneous “Cures”: Norman Reider's Forgotten Paper, Part Ii

The Psychoanalytic Quarterly

Published online on


Part I of this paper combined an introduction to Norman Reider's original 1955 paper with a republication of the paper itself. Part II is a discussion of the complexities of a comparison of past and present psychoanalytic literature. The concept of enactment is proposed as one of many possible alternative views in considering Reider's notion of spontaneous “cures.” A careful consideration of these spontaneous cures within the ordinary ups and downs of any psychoanalytic treatment sheds important light on our continuing confusion about how we define the term cure, and therefore about the nature of change during psychoanalytic treatment. This alternative perspective is only one of many plausible ones for present‐day readers. The purpose of this republication is not to propose an explanation for “what really happened” with Reider and his patients; rather, it is to reconsider the fallacy of evaluating his paper outside its historical context and thereby failing to appreciate his courage in presenting what at the time were radical views. Questions about the complexity and confusion regarding cure and change require reexamination of the neglect of epistemology on the part of psychoanalysis in prolonging the confusion about distinguishing psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.