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Future of Psychoanalysis, The

Richard D. Chessick

Publication Year: 2007

The Future of Psychoanalysis explores the contemporary problem of multiple theories of psychoanalysis and argues for a return to a more classical position based on Freud’s work. Using his training in psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and philosophy, Richard D. Chessick examines the special combination of hermeneutics and natural science that characterizes Freud’s psychoanalysis, and investigates what goes on in the mind of the psychoanalyst during the psychoanalytic process. He maintains that while relativistic and intersubjective theories of psychoanalysis have value, they have gone too far and generated a plurality of theories removed from Freud, which has led to chaos in the field. The Future of Psychoanalysis challenges these trends and places this debate in the context of current mind/brain controversies and unresolved questions about human nature.

Published by: State University of New York Press

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pp. xi-xiii

Kierkegaard, in Concluding Unscientific Postscript, written in 1846, describes his point of departure as a thinker. While he sat one Sunday afternoon in the Frederiksberg Garden in Copenhagen smoking a cigar and turning over a great many things in his mind, he reflected that as yet he had made no career for himself. Everywhere around him he saw men of his age celebrated, establishing...

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pp. xv

In addition to substantial previously unpublished material, this book contains, in thoroughly revised form, some material from recent papers previously published in The Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry (Chessick 2000c, 2000d, 2001a, 2001b, 2001c, 2002a, 2002b, 2002c, 2002d, 2003a, 2003b, 2005b). Grateful acknowledgement...

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1. What is Psychoanalysis?

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pp. 1-26

Psychoanalysis can have a scientific foundation, and does have a future, even if it is a procedure in which the investigator has an indissoluble influence on what is being investigated, and the possibility of replication is deeply compromised by the uniqueness of the relationship. Psychoanalytic notions do not readily lend themselves to empirical validation. Yet it has been increasingly...

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2. Psychoanalysis as Science and Art

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pp. 27-42

In this and subsequent chapters I delve into certain fundamentals that underlie the practice and theory of psychoanalysis as I conceive of it. These involve the role of fantasy, creativity, and imagination, as well as the natural science aspect of psychoanalysis. The questions of whether there exists common grounds for psychoanalytic technique, and of what constitutes...

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3. The Psychoanalyst as Translator

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pp. 43-60

A very serious question was raised perhaps first by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (Monk 1990), who maintained that when attitudes of the most fundamental kind clash, there can be no question of agreement or disagreement, for everything one says or does is interpreted from within those attitudes. He insisted it should not be surprising therefore, that frustration and incomprehension would be predominant on both sides. The late...

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4. The Continental Contribution to Psychoanalysis

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pp. 61-79

This chapter is an introduction to the subject for mental health professionals and others who are interested in the future of psychoanalysis but who are not familiar with phenomenology. Phenomenology, as we use it here, attempts to capture in all its concrete immediacy the intrinsic nature of one’s experience, exactly as it occurs to a person and without any...

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5. The Secret Life of the Psychoanalyst

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pp. 81-101

Perusing the psychoanalytic literature reveals a scattering of papers hinting that even the best theorists in the various schools of psychoanalysis do not, in the privacy of their offices, meticulously practice as prescribed by their specific theoretical orientation. This leads to a number of problems that perhaps it is time to bring out into the...

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6. What Can Modern Psychoanalysts Learn from a Medieval “Psychoanalysis”?

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pp. 103-124

As individuals age, and develop the various ailments that are concomitant to that state, their minds begin to turn toward death and the possibility of a second life after death. Some deal with this by manic denial, carrying on their lives as if they were adolescents, while others turn to more and more fundamentalist religion and even spend many hours in prayer and...

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7. Freud’s Great Discovery

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pp. 125-136

Transference was arguably Freud’s greatest discovery. It is the centerpiece of the psychoanalytic process and, along with free association and dream analysis, it is a powerful tool toward the exploration of the patient’s unconscious. The state of the transference must be constantly kept in mind by the analyst, because it colors everything the patient says and determines how...

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8. The Effect on Countertransference of the Collapse of Civilization

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pp. 137-156

The late Pierre Bourdieu, French philosopher and sociologist, offered gloomy thoughts about the direction civilization is going. He bemoaned the drift of our culture away from scholarship and high culture as sources of social prestige and toward journalism and entertainment. He had nothing but denunciation of anti-foundationalists and postmodernists for their relativism...

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9. The Contemporary Failure of Nerve and the Crisis of Psychoanalysis

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pp. 157-175

Everyone agrees that the field of psychoanalysis is undergoing widespread dispersion and dilution these days, with many conflicting schools of thought and many new opinions. In order to maintain our sense of identity as psychoanalysts, we need to have a clear notion of what we regard to be psychoanalysis and what it stands for. As a contribution to the resolution of this...

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10. Psychoanalysis at the End of the Third Millennium: A Fantasy

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pp. 177-196

Having come to the end of the third millennium, it is appropriate on this memorable day of our annual June meeting in 3000 AD, the year opening the thirty-first century, to review what has happened to psychoanalysis.

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11. What Constitutes Progress in Psychoanalysis?

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pp. 197-212

Some of the pertinent concepts of Hegel are relevant to the study of both the phenomenology and history of the development of psychoanalysis. Hegel’s investigation is called “phenomenology” because it attempts to stand back with as few preconceptions as possible and let the manifestations of the development of self-consciousness, as he thought of it, show progress...

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12. Understanding the Human Mind in the Contemporary World

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pp. 213-232

The life of thought, its vitality and creativity, requires a process of moving beyond itself and a critique of the ideals and presumptions that hold it in place. Heidegger proposed that thought was an experiment belonging to questions and uncertainties, one that does not anticipate a body of results or forge a systematic account of the way things “really” are. For...


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pp. 233-234


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pp. 235-255


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pp. 257-265

E-ISBN-13: 9780791481059
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791468951
Print-ISBN-10: 079146895X

Page Count: 281
Illustrations: 25 tables, 9 figures
Publication Year: 2007