Therapy or Coercion: Does Psychoanalysis Differ from Brainwashing?

Therapy or Coercion: Does Psychoanalysis Differ from Brainwashing?

Therapy or Coercion: Does Psychoanalysis Differ from Brainwashing?

Therapy or Coercion: Does Psychoanalysis Differ from Brainwashing?

Synopsis

This book questions whether 'autonomy' is a pivotal psychotherapeutic value. Basing his discussion upon the key Kleinian concept of 'projective identification', the author argues that 'integration' should be the aim of psychoanalysis, and - furthermore - that actions can be judged ethical or unethical according to whether they foster or hinder integration.

Excerpt

Freud was pessimistic, if not cynical, about the real benefits of ethical injunctions and moral values, which have to struggle against instinctual desires for basic bodily satisfactions or their socially contorted derivatives:

The commandment, "Love thy neighbour as thyself", is the strongest defence against human aggressiveness and an excellent example of the unpsychological proceedings of the cultural super-ego. The commandment is impossible to fulfill; and such an enormous inflation of love can only lower its value, not get rid of the difficulty..."Natural", ethics, as it is called, has nothing to offer here except the narcissistic satisfaction of being able to think oneself better than others. [ Freud, 1930a, p. 143]

Freud makes the depressing assumption that human aggression is inherent and that only the effects of civilization can ameliorate it. Such aggression is relentless, blind, and lacking in circumspection. It is met by an internalized "society", in the form of the superego, which has just the same qualities of relentlessness, blindness, and absence of circumspection.

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