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Kelman, H. (1966). The Changing Image of Psychoanalysis. Am. J. Psychoanal., 26:169-177.

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(1966). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 26(2):169-177

The Changing Image of Psychoanalysis Related Papers

Harold Kelman, M.D.

Our topic contains terms requiring definition. Implicitly it raises a host of questions. What is an Image? It is a form and a vision. Being a changing image, it is a sequence of patternings emerging from a creating process. That process reflects its context. It delimits what has been appropriate. But, as creative vision, it must point the way toward possible futures. Because “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs, 29:18)

In the brief existence of psychoanalysis no image was or could be final and right. Pressures to stay with the static express fears of the ongoing. Nature is profligate with its abundance of forms. Spontaneity in children is a play of forms, a playing with forms, a delight in their evanescence and their non-attachment to them. Play is an essential to growing, for animal and human life. Forms and forming are integral to the creating process as are play and effort, frustration and realization, lying fallow and rejuvenating. According to ancient Hindu philosophy, attachment to form itself is the greatest sin of all. Human history attests to the validity of this.

New civilizations reflect new visions as responses to challenges (Toynbee). Populations withdrew from what had moved them and returned with new perspectives. They could be open to a new kind of seeing for “The eye can only see that to which it brings the power of seeing:” (Plotinus) They were not fettered to forms, become empty of vital content, statically repetitive

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