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Lieberman, S. (1984). Freud and Man's Soul by Dr. Bruno Bettelheim, Published by Chatto & Windus, the Hogarth Press, 1983; 112 pages; £6.95.. Brit. J. Psychother., 1(1):91-92.

(1984). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 1(1):91-92

Freud and Man's Soul by Dr. Bruno Bettelheim, Published by Chatto & Windus, the Hogarth Press, 1983; 112 pages; £6.95.

Review by:
Stuart Lieberman

Psychoanalysts beware! Freud was a humanist. So says Dr. Bettelheim. In a well argued criticism of the translation of Freud's work into English, Bettelheim argues the ease against the medicalisation of psychoanalyse. He desires that Freud should take his rightful place within the framework of Geistwissenschaften (Humanities) rather than Naturwissenschaften (Science). “Nearly all his many references to the soul have been excised in translation”. The eradication of Freud's references to the soul are particularly galling since Freud intended psychoanalysts to be a new profession of Seelsorger - secular ministers of souls.

Bettelheim who is a fellow Viennese Jewish Analyst who emigrated to the United States, believes that English translations of Freud's writings distort the essential humanism that permeates the originals. He blames this mistranslation on the desire of the American proponents for Psychoanalysis to remain wholly within the province of the medical profession. Freud's use of homely and personal language has been modified into impersonal and technical abstractions that inhibit his English readers from looking inwards to their own souls as Freud himself did and as he originally intended his readers to do.

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