The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry

The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry

The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry

The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry

Synopsis

This classic work is a monumental, integrated view of man's search for an understanding of the inner reaches of the mind. In an account that is both exhaustive and exciting, the distinguished psychiatrist and author demonstrates the long chain of development through the exorcists, magnetists, and hypnotists that led to the fruition of dynamic psychiatry in the psychological systems of Janet, Freud, Adler, and Jung.

Excerpt

This book is intended to be a history of dynamic psychiatry based on a scientific methodology, with a detailed and objective survey of the great dynamic psychiatric systems, notably those of Janet, Freud, Adler, and Jung. An interpretation of facts and systems is proposed, on the basis of an evaluation of the socio-economic, political, and cultural background, as well as of the personality of the pioneers, their environment, and the role of certain patients.

The starting point of my study came about through reflection on the contrast between the evolution of dynamic psychiatry and that of other sciences. No branch of knowledge has undergone so many metamorphoses as dynamic psychiatry: from primitive healing to magnetism, magnetism to hypnotism, hypnotism to psychoanalysis and the newer dynamic schools. Furthermore, these various trends have gone through repeated waves of rejection and acceptance. However, acceptance has never been as unequivocal as in the case of physical, chemical, or physiological discoveries, not to mention the fact that the teachings of the newer dynamic schools are to a great extent mutually incompatible. As another conspicuous feature, the current accounts of the history of dynamic psychiatry contain more errors, gaps, and legends than the history of any other science.

The aim of my research was threefold. The first task was retracing the history of dynamic psychiatry as accurately as possible, departing from the "hero-worship" perspective of certain former accounts, while keeping a rigorously impartial outlook and abstaining from any kind of polemics. The relevant methodology can be summed up in four principles: (1) Never take anything for granted. (2) Check everything. (3) Replace everything in its context. (4) Draw a sharp line of distinction between the facts and interpretation of facts. Whenever possible, I resorted to primary sources, such as archives, specialized libraries, and the testimonies of trustworthy . . .

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