Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To search only within a publication time period…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Looking for articles in a specific time period? You can refine your search by using the Year feature in the Search Section. This tool could be useful for studying the impact of historical events on psychoanalytic theories.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Gabbard, G.O. (1996). Freud's Critics. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44:367-368.

(1996). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44:367-368

Freud's Critics

Glen O. Gabbard

In December 1995 the Library of Congress in Washington announced that it would postpone a major exhibition called “Sigmund Freud: Conflict and Culture.” A group of Freud's critics—some refer to them as “Freud-bashers” or even “thought police”—signed a petition urging a reconsideration of the exhibit, based on their perspective that Freud would not be represented in a balanced manner. To a large extent this cancellation served as a wake-up call to the psychoanalytic profession, galvanizing analysts of all persuasions to participate in a large-scale letter writing campaign designed to influence the Library of Congress to reverse its decision.

Although as analysts we have become accustomed to attacks on Freud and on psychoanalysis as both a theory of the mind and a clinical endeavor, the events in our nation's capital alerted us to the fact that we are dealing with a carefully orchestrated and well-organized effort to suppress psychoanalytic ideas. As Jonathan Lear noted in an elegant commentary in the December 25, 1995, issue of The New Republic, “Freud-bashing has gone from an argument to a movement” (p. 18).

This movement has spawned a series of books challenging Freud's professional ethics, his clinical technique, and the fundamental tenets of his theory. In this issue, three of those books are reviewed on the pages that follow. Lear and Robert Michels offer critiques of The Memory Wars: Freud's Legacy of Dispute by Frederick Crews, an expanded version of his attention-getting essays in The New York Review of Books. Michael Beldoch reviews Richard Webster's tome, Why Freud Was Wrong: Sin, Science, and Psychoanalysis, and Robert Galatzer-Levy offers his own perspective on Adolf Grünbaum's latest diatribe, Validation in the Clinical Theory of Psychoanalysis: A Study in the Philosophy of Psychoanalysis.

Some of our colleagues have argued that we should not dignify these books by mounting thoughtful, articulate critiques of the authors' thinking.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.