Freud: A Critical Re-Evaluation of His Theories

By Reuben D. Fine | Go to book overview

textbook writers -- whatever part of psychoanalysis is accepted is described as general psychology; what is rejected is labeled "psychoanalysis" or "Freudian." A number of years ago Kris, Herma and Shor187 demonstrated how this worked in the case of the dream: More and more of psychoanalytic dream theory was accepted as time went on, but at every point whatever was accepted was termed psychological knowledge, while what was rejected remained Freud's theory. The same holds for other areas of psychoanalysis. The result has been that the student is usually left with the erroneous notion that psychoanalysis is somehow a fanatical or lunatic fringe theory which has little to do with "scientific" psychology.

Some outstanding psychologists have, however, always appreciated the fructifying role of psychoanalysis in psychological theory. Boring, in the 1950 edition of his classic History of Experimental Psychology, put it this way:

It was Freud who put the dynamic conception of psychology where psychologists could see it and take it. They took it, slowly and with hesitation, accepting some principles while rejecting many of the trimmings. It is not likely that the history of psychology can be written in the next three centuries without mention of Freud's name and still claim to be a general history of psychology.188

In the present-day environment there is a growing rapprochement between psychoanalysis and general psychology from both directions. Psychoanalysis is becoming increasingly interested in research which is nontherapeutic in nature, while general psychology is learning more and more about the dynamic factors in human behavior which psychoanalytic psychology has been pointing out for many decades. There can be little doubt that as time goes on this rapprochement will grow even closer.


NOTES ON CHAPTER XVII

Perhaps the best exposition of the relationship between psychoanalysis and psychiatry is the address delivered by Ernest Jones at the opening of the Psychiatric Institute of Columbia University ( New York) in 1929. Reprinted in E. Jones: "Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry," Papers on Psychoanalysis, 5th edition ( London: Bailliere, Tindall and Cox, 1948), Chapter XIX. Some other representative papers are: A. Staercke: "Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry,"

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