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Twemlow, S.W. Ramzy, N. (2001). Editorial. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 3(2):99-102.

(2001). Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 3(2):99-102



Stuart W. Twemlow, M.D. and Nadia Ramzy, Ph.D.

In the best tradition of applied psychoanalysis, this issue presents a feast of applications, both to social problems and to art and literature. Such a smorgasbord marks a phase of development for our journal. At the editorial board meeting in December 2000, one topic explored was the possible expansion of the definition of what is appropriate for applied analysis, including artistic productions like painting, poetry, essays, photography, short stories and other metaphoric/synthetic creations of the human mind. This step is not a small one. It represents an expansion of the concept of science beyond the strict confines of the hypothetico-deductive method to include little understood intuitive, synthetic mental productions, hermeneutic and other interpretative disciplines and ethnographic commentary. The key to a true science is embodied, we feel, in the curiosity of an all-consuming idea, not unlike Edward O. Wilson's “Biophilia” the wish, like a drive or evolutionary force, is a consuming wish of the spirit he calls a love of life.

Psychoanalysis is in danger of compromising its creative and expansive goals by aligning itself too closely with neuroscience and biological disciplines. Both editors of this journal, and also most authors in this issue, have a strong training in biological sciences and a commitment to understanding the biological ground. On the other hand, it is clear to us that psychoanalytic approaches to the treatment of mental illness, as currently defined, are quite limited, and to confine psychoanalytic exploration to more and more specific aspects of the technical treatment of mentally ill patients is a tragic fallacy and potentially destructive for our promising future.

To do so would be a denial of the lesson of the overthrow of psychoanalysis as an organizing discipline for the medical science of psychiatry, signaled by DSM III. The lesson to be learned is that psychoanalysis as a clinical art had been vastly oversold and was not, in fact, appropriate for many of the illnesses for which it was prescribed. Now, in its more humble “member of the team” rather than leadership role, psychoanalysis can truly begin to look inside itself to discover its true potential.


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