Hans Loewald’s "On the Therapeutic Action of Psychoanalysis" is one of the most frequently cited and influential articles in psychoanalysis. The development of Loewald’s paper is traced from early, unpublished drafts and presentations (approximately years 1956-1959) to its eventual publication in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis in 1960. Using archival material, the initial reception to Loewald’s ideas is examined, showing the difficulty in grasping their novelty, originality, and clinical implications. Citation analysis is employed to demonstrate the article’s growing influence and broad cross-over appeal to analysts of various orientations. The implications of this study as a way of examining originality and influence are discussed.
Keywords: Therapeutic action, psychoanalytic theory, history of ideas, psychoanalytic technique, Hans Loewald