Why Freud Was Wrong: Sin, Science, and Psychoanalysis

Why Freud Was Wrong: Sin, Science, and Psychoanalysis

Why Freud Was Wrong: Sin, Science, and Psychoanalysis

Why Freud Was Wrong: Sin, Science, and Psychoanalysis

Synopsis

A study of a British witch-hunt which developed during the 1990s out of new police methods for collecting allegations of abuse. The main focus of the book is on allegations about Bryn Estyn, the home at the centre of the North Wales scandal and of the inquiry. The spread of the witch-hunt to other parts of the UK is also documented.

Excerpt

The first occurrence of the word 'psychoanalysis' was in 1896, the same year as the death of Freud's father. It was then (or perhaps a year earlier, with the publication of Studies on Hysteria) that an obscure Austrian neurologist launched what was to become the most significant medical movement in the whole of human history. in the century which has passed since, psychoanalysis has been so deeply absorbed into our culture that we have almost forgotten that it was ever a medical movement in the first place. the sheer speed with which this happened has sometimes made it difficult to divine the reasons which lie behind the success of psychoanalysis. All too frequently this success has itself been interpreted as a measure of the rightness or the revolutionary profundity of Freud's ideas. One of the aims of this book is to suggest that the reverse of this view may be nearer to the truth. I have tried above all to explain why a psychological system whose language and concepts may initially seem strange and unsettling has been experienced by so many people as familiar and reassuring.

Precisely because some people do find psychoanalytic ideas comforting, any work which criticises Freud is liable to provoke passionate resentment. This book is no exception. For although most of the responses to Why Freud Was Wrong on its publication in 1995 were warm and enthusiastic, a significant number were not. in some cases these followed a traditional pattern and Freud was defended with the kind of fierce zeal which has been customary in the psychoanalytic movement since its beginnings. Other responses, however, were themselves tempered by a degree of scepticism about psychoanalysis.

One of the arguments deployed by Freud's more moderate defenders suggested that to portray psychoanalysis as a false science, as I do in this book, is to misunderstand its nature. According to this view the whole point of psychoanaysis is that it is not a science at all; it should be judged not as a contribution to our systematic knowledge of human nature but as a kind of poetry. Psychoanalytic theories, therefore, can never be rejected as 'false' and Freud, as the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.