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Burch, N. (2014). A Long-Term Strategy for the Profession. Brit. J. Psychother., 30(3):399-400.

(2014). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 30(3):399-400


A Long-Term Strategy for the Profession

Nigel Burch

Dear Editor

There are some in our profession who feel the profession is in decline, while there are others who have a more positive view of its future, and point to developments being worked on in the profession. But the one thing we seem to lack is a clear long-term strategy.

Freud saw psychoanalysis as a theory of mind with a far wider application than its use in the consulting room, and there are certainly developments in other fields. Ones that come to mind are the consultancy work with organizations undertaken by the Tavistock Institute and the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust: then there is David Tuckett's book Minding the Markets (2011) taking an analytic look at financial markets, and Engaging with Climate Change (2013) edited by Sally Weintrobe is another. But for all the developments that are taking place, I feel we lack a long-term strategy for the profession and, without such a strategy, development is likely to be disjointed and hinders us in envisaging the possibilities.

While work in consulting rooms benefits many people, a far greater number would benefit if psychoanalytic ideas could be used to inform public policy through the development of a psychoanalytic ‘think-tank’. To achieve this, psychoanalytic ideas would have to be promoted so they are understood and valued in society at large, which is a huge promotional project. I am thinking of a timescale of a century: we have spent the first century developing psychoanalysis in the consulting room, and this is my proposal for new additional emphasis for the next century: I say ‘additional emphasis’ because we will have to continue to develop clinical work by looking at what society needs from our profession.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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