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J Am Acad Psychoanal Dyn Psychiatry. 2010 Fall;38(3):459-81. doi: 10.1521/jaap.2010.38.3.459.

Psychoanalysis--on its way down a dead-end street? A concerned commentary.

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Institute of Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatic Medicine of the University of Saarland, Germany.


The author discusses the problems when psychoanalysis not only neglects socio-critical issues, diversifies its concepts and sets about to define their common ground with the help of brain research findings and/or of infant observation, but also ignores the implications of attempts to legitimate its scientific status by verifying the outcome of its treatments via nomological and/or qualitative study designs. It is argued that if we reduce psychoanalysis to a mere psychotherapeutic measure we displace the factors essential to neurotic disorders into the blind spot of our field of vision, thus rendering psychoanalysis to be a pseudoscience based on appearances alone. Conceptual clarity, it is argued, cannot be gained from the findings of infant observation or those of brain research. Neither can psychoanalytic treatments be investigated in these manners as long as our current understanding of technical concepts remains highly contradictory. In the author's view present-day psychoanalysis gambles Freud's inheritance away and with it, probably, its own future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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