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Wallerstein, R.S. (2005). Will psychoanalytic pluralism be an enduring state of our discipline?. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(3):623-626.
(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(3):623-626
Will psychoanalytic pluralism be an enduring state of our discipline?
Robert S. Wallerstein
My two presidential addresses to the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) Congresses, in Montreal in 1987, and in Rome in 1989 (Wallerstein, 1988, 1990), focused on the issue of our reigning theoretical pluralism, as an important, and controversial, matter of psychoanalytic interest, and where, in the face of this diversity, we might try to find the common ground that defines us all as adherents of a shared psychoanalytic discipline.
My argument was essentially that Freud strove passionately throughout his professional lifetime to maintain the psychoanalysis that he had almost singlehandedly brought into being as a unitary and unified theoretical structure, as both a profession and a ‘movement’. And those who came to differ in theoretical perspective, such as Stekel, Adler, Jung, then Rank, and, almost, Ferenczi, were extruded from organized psychoanalytic ranks, as established by membership in the International Psychoanalytical Association created as early as 1910, at the second International Congress, in Nuremberg.
Yet, even within Freud's lifetime, his unitary vision was not sustained, beginning with the growth in the 1920s of the alternative Kleinian metapsychology, which sturdily maintained itself within the frame of organized psychoanalysis (the IPA) as a claimed better and truer carrier of Freud's legacy—with its stalwart adherence to Freud's death-instinct theorizing, which his own followers in Vienna had found so problematic that many of them had discounted or rejected it—than those of his followers closer to his persona, who adhered to his evolving ego-psychology paradigm.
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