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Anderson, J.W. Winer, J.A. (2001). Introduction. Ann. Psychoanal., 29:3-7.

(2001). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 29:3-7

I. Sigmund Freud The Man

Introduction

James William Anderson, Ph.D. and Jerome A. Winer, M.D.

Freud's Impact

As the year 2000 approached, there was much speculation about who were the most influential figures in the twentieth century. Several political leaders, such as Wilson, Gandhi, Lenin, Roosevelt, Hitler, Churchill, and Mao, dominated the world stage, but it is questionable whether the effect of any of them had much staying power. Lenin's Soviet Union has disappeared. Hitler's Third Reich, which was supposed to last a thousand years, is now a ghastly memory. Roosevelt's “New Deal” is no longer “new,” and much of it has been abandoned.

Commentators turned their attention from politicians to thinkers, and the name of Sigmund Freud came up regularly. Time magazine (March 29, 1999), in an issue on “The Century's Greatest Minds,” featured Freud and Albert Einstein on the cover, with John Maynard Keynes, Jonas Salk, and Rachel Carson in the background.

There is wide agreement that few if any people had more of an effect during the past 100 years; our goal in this volume is to explore just what Freud's impact has been.

He had one area of influence that is unarguable. He was the founder of psychodynamic psychology. The practitioners of psychotherapy, who include psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and counselors, are all descended from Freud. Although psychiatric medications have become widespread, thousands of people who need help still are able to find it in the “talking cure,” a method of treatment that was unheard of a century ago. The self-help movement, to the extent that it is based on the assumption that people's psychological problems are rooted in their childhood experiences—in the “inner child,” as one variation would have it—is also a legacy from Freud.

But Freud had another kind of influence that is more pervasive. It is what W. H. Auden (1974, p.

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