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Weiss, F.A. (1966). The Changing Image of Psychoanalysis. Am. J. Psychoanal., 26:177-183.

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(1966). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 26(2):177-183

The Changing Image of Psychoanalysis Related Papers

Frederick A. Weiss, M.D., F.A.P.A.

The image of man has changed very much since psychoanalysis was born. Freud's image of man reflects mechanistic, dualistic and closed-system thinking. Contemporary biology as represented by Kurt Goldstein, Julian Huxley and Eric Portman, and contemporary psychoanalysis as represented by Horney, Franz Alexander and Erikson have replaced the model of the instinct-driven creature with a new holistic and dynamic image of man. They see man growing as a whole in continuous interaction with the environment, endowed with the capacity and striving for healthy growth, the realization of his potentialities and constructive co-operation with his fellow man. In an unfavorable early environment which fosters basic anxiety and conflict, human development becomes deflected from the healthy direction towards increasing freedom, spontaneity, self-expression and self-realization to the direction of increasing sickness, characterized by self-restricting concern with safety, compulsive rigidity, hostility against self and others and increasing self-alienation. (This basic concept is not changed by our new knowledge of genetics except that the inborn potential varies.)

Man is both: the last link in the long chain of evolution in which instincts and environment were the decisive formative powers—and the first in whom the power of instincts is very much reduced in favor of the decisive influence of the total early environment, experience and learning. Man is the only being who is endowed with

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