The Scientific Foundations of Psychotherapy

Pier Francesco Galli


This paper was presented in 1962 at a course organized in Milan by the “Milan Group for the
Advancement of Psychotherapy” (later called Psicoterapia e Scienze Umane), and reprinted in 2006. The author
discusses the problem of the scientific foundations of psychotherapy and the issues related to the use of the method of
natural sciences for the study of human nature, with reference to phenomenology, existentialism, and the tradition of
interpersonal psychoanalysis in North America. To this end, the author introduces for the first time his concept of
“continuous interpretative activity” composed of different semantic codes, not only verbal codes, in order to give back
to the patient his/her signifiers. At the end of the paper the discussion that followed this presentation is reported, with
the commentaries by Leonardo Ancona, Silvano Arieti, Danilo Cargnello, Elvio Fachinelli, and Pier Francesco Galli.


Psychoanalysis, Science, Existentialism, History of psychoanalytic concepts, Critique.

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ISSN 2282-0043 - Registered at the Court of Rome on Nov. 8, 2012, no. 305/2012

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