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Kaufman, M.R. (1950). The Role of Psychoanalysis in American Psychiatry. Bul. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 6A(1):1-4.

(1950). Bulletin of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 6A(1):1-4

The Role of Psychoanalysis in American Psychiatry

M. Ralph Kaufman, M.D.

It may be of some importance to state for the record something about the present status of psychoanalysis and psychoanalysts in American medicine with especial reference to psychiatry. For some reason that is not altogether clear, a sentiment seems to have developed in certain quarters in regard to psychoanalysis which would seem to say that psychoanalysis is a kind of ivory-towered discipline isolated from the general trend of American medicine. This is a rather curious phenomenon since at this time it is rather difficult to visualize American psychiatry divorced from psychoanalytic concepts.

When I was stationed in a military school of psychiatry as a teacher, I had occasion to review most American textbooks. It soon became clear that not a single standard textbook of American psychiatry had not been influenced by Freudian psychoanalytic concepts. This, of course, was true in varying degrees, but nevertheless it was a clear demonstration of the impact of psychoanalysis in American psychiatry.

This, of course, is known to all of you. It would be difficult for any one of us to visualize American psychiatry without the leaven of Freud's basic concepts. The accusation of isolationism nevertheless is still present, and perhaps the best way to examine the validity of such a statement is to evaluate the contributions of the individual members of the American psychoanalytic Association in terms of hospital appointments, teaching appointments, relationships to community agencies and other such activities.

Most of you know that in the past year a number of questionnaires have been sent to you with the specific intent of recording just these things.

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