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Arundale, J. (1998). Editorial. Brit. J. Psychother., 14(3):269-270.

(1998). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 14(3):269-270


Jean Arundale

After the recent tidal wave of criticism of Freud and psychoanalysis, we are left on the shores to calculate the damage. Some of psychoanalysis's most vociferous critics would like to believe that it was a cultural hallucination that Freud's body of theory was ever important in the first place. Listed among his many errors is the charge that Freud borrowed and stole from other traditions, from hypnosis as I heard in a recent paper, plundering its literature and claiming it as his own. But this is a narrow reading of Freud - his thinking lies much more in the legacy of the rational system-builders of the Philosophy of Mind in the early nineteenth century, Kant and Hegel, and will stand with these. Before Freud's systematic model of the mind appeared, little was done to help those with mental disturbance and distortions of thinking. Freud's humanizing effect is sometimes forgotten, that a disturbed person can be carefully listened to with attention and understanding over a long period, and be changed thereby. In these less humane and patient times, we rebuild on the shores.

More than an aetiological explanation, psychoanalysis is, above all, a technique. How we spend our time with patients, how we do it, is of the greatest interest in our evolving profession. The BJP is keen to have more papers on clinical work, the ordinary workaday sessions and the way in which we talk to patients when we interpret defences, transference, dreams, etc. Although we give priority to articles that make an original contribution, a new idea placed within the literature and argued cogently with case examples, we also need more accounts of our everyday work for the purposes of thinking and discussion.

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