Psychologist at Large: An Autobiography and Selected Essays

By Edwin G. Boring | Go to book overview

Was This Analysis a Success?
1940

When I undertook analysis with Hanns Sachs in 1934-1935 most of the "orthodox" psychologists, and thus most of my friends, regarded psychoanalysis with disapproval. At best it was to them a mistrusted mystery, and my own scientific integrity seemed to them to be open to some doubt. The skeptics wondered: "Does psychoanalysis really work?" and I found myself wondering too, right after the analysis in 1935 and again five years later when I thought that the personality change that I had so anxiously hoped for ought to have become clear if indeed it had occurred. Accordingly I proposed to the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology that it solicit from well-known psychologists accounts of their analyses in order that we might thus have a poll of scientifically competent ex-analysands. The scheme worked, at least far enough to excite considerable interest, for the entire set of these reports was later reprinted together and sold by the American Psychological Association until the edition was exhausted. My report came first, and I alone among the analysands got my analyst, Sachs, to comment in print upon my discussion of his analysis of me. That report too is printed here.

This paper has provided a very interesting perspective on that quest of mine for the kind of maturity that I wanted so desperately when I first sought analysis, for it shows what I thought of myself in 1935 and also five years later in 1940 when I wrote the paper. The five years had provided considerable progress toward my goal. The first draft of the Autobiography printed in this book was written in 1950, and thus is able to note further progress

____________________
Reprinted with permission from the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1940, vol. 35, 4-10.

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