Freud and Beyond: A History of Modern Psychoanalytic Thought

Freud and Beyond: A History of Modern Psychoanalytic Thought

Freud and Beyond: A History of Modern Psychoanalytic Thought

Freud and Beyond: A History of Modern Psychoanalytic Thought

Excerpt

What is psychoanalysis?

Movies and cartoons offer images of a patient lying on a couch, speaking endlessly into a vacuum, while a silent, colorless, older gentleman with a beard takes notes. Many people who are unfamiliar with psychoanalysis fear it as a coward's way out, an admission of defeat, a ceding of control and authority to a stranger.

But what of those who have benefited from or who practice psychoanalysis? Their voices are not often heard. The problem is that psychoanalytic concepts derive from and are concerned most fundamentally with the experience of the analytic process, an intensely emotional, highly charged, deeply personal experience for both participants. From the inside, in the eyes of those who practice and study psychoanalysis as well as those who have undergone a "successful" (i.e., personally meaningful) analysis, the world of psychoanalysis is a rich and intriguing place. Its basic concepts and modes of thought are imbued with an experiential vividness, a conceptual clarity, and a continual practical applicability to the day-to-day conduct of their lives. Psychoanalytic thought helps knit together different domains of experience: past and present, waking and sleeping, thinking and feeling, interpersonal events and the most private fantasies.

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