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Šebek, M. (1993). The Concept of Reality and Psychoanalysis Practised in Underground Conditions. Free Associations, 4(2):167-179.

(1993). Free Associations, 4(2):167-179


The Concept of Reality and Psychoanalysis Practised in Underground Conditions

Michael Šebek, Ph.D., Csc

My colleagues and I were trained in psychoanalysis during the period of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia.1 This very simple statement raises many questions among psychoanalysts in other countries which have been democratic for decades, or even centuries. Could psychoanalysis have existed under Communist totalitarian power? If yes, then in what ‘form’. What about ‘heroes’ of the process of survival? What social and cultural conditions contributed to this process?

Some Historical Facts

There were two psychoanalytic groups in Czechoslovakia in the 1920s. The first one was organized in Prague by the Russian émigré Nikolaj Osipov; the second in Košice (Slovakia) by the Czech psychiatrist Jaroslav StuchlíAk. Prague became the centre of the psychoanalytic movement in the thirties when Otto Fenichel, Annie Reich and the Viennese Psychoanalytical Society helped to establish the Czech Study Group, which was recognized by the International Psychoanalytical Association in 1936 at the fourteenth IPA Congress at Marienbad.

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