Past and Future of Psychoanalysis in Psychiatry

“I wish to speak today not about the "how" of psychoanalysis, but rather the "why" of psychoanalysis. To put this differently, I do not wish to speak today about the techniques or the various practices which constitute psychoanalysis, about the various indications for different approaches which we use in psychoanalysis, or even necessarily about the theory which informs those techniques and practices; but, today, I wish to speak about the history of psychoanalysis, about the context for Freud's discovery of psychoanalysis, about some of the changes that psychoanalysis has undergone in its more American forms and in the form which is identified today as Lacanian psychoanalysis, and - most importantly - to speak about all of this in the context in which all of this is important to the general psychiatrist.

I would like to start with a discussion of Freud and his discovery of psychoanalysis. And already, in the beginning of this discussion, I find myself adjusting the language I use. For in fact, it is probably misleading to speak of psychoanalysis has something that was discovered by Freud, but it is better spoken of as something created by Freud. In other words, psychoanalysis represents a unique form of discourse--a specific combination of theory and practice which is independent in its own right and not best understood as "part" of another discourse, such as medicine or science. In this context, psychoanalysis must be examined at the level of any other discourse, such as the discourse of religion or science. This is in contrast to the view of psychoanalysis as just another treatment modality that is used in psychiatric practice. ”

― Thomas Svolos, Past and Future of Psychoanalysis in Psychiatry



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