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Richards, A.D. (2016). The Left and Far Left in American Psychoanalysis: Psychoanalysis as a Subversive Discipline. Contemp. Psychoanal., 52(1):111-129.

(2016). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 52(1):111-129

The Left and Far Left in American Psychoanalysis: Psychoanalysis as a Subversive Discipline

Arnold D. Richards, M.D.

This article explores the political commitments of the European-born émigré psychoanalysts and a group of American-born psychoanalysts who had a far left (Communist or fellow traveler) past. It describes the national and local struggle for power and ascendency in these two groups. Also, the article explores the impact that Marxism had on the theory and practice of what I call “American Communist Psychoanalytic Thought Collective,” in particular on pragmatic optimistic and dialectical theory. The downside was rigidity, a sense of certainty, and lack of tolerance of dissent and organizational authoritarian structures. The article ends with a plea to restore the balance between control and risk in order to restore the vitality of psychoanalysis and assure its growth. After years of repression, exclusion, and schism, we need to subvert entrenched power and advance the thesis of roles and the antithesis of insurgency.

[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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