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Kris, A.O. Pinsky, E. Noonan, J. (2015). Letter from Boston. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 96(3):513-520.

(2015). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 96(3):513-520

Letter From

Letter from Boston Language Translation

Anton O. Kris, Ellen Pinsky and Janet Noonan

Boston's rich history in psychoanalysis began in the 1890s under the influence of William James. One hundred years ago James Jackson Putnam, Professor of Diseases of the Nervous System at Harvard, who had become a psychoanalyst, spoke to the New York Psychoanalytic Society, concluding with these words:

If observers coming after Freud, and using either the same method or another of equal or greater value, find reasons to arrive at conclusions different from those which he has reached, they may doubtless prove to be benefactors of science or their race. But it is certain that their own conclusions will be of little value, and their method not one to be recommended, if in reaching the former or employing the latter they are led to set aside as worthless or as needless the facts and deductions which this clear-eyed observer had set down as true.

(1916, p. 140)

Dr Putnam was a founder and the first president of the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) in 1911 and, from 1914 to his death in 1918, President of the first Boston Psychoanalytic Society. Older than Freud, he did not live to see the founding of the current Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute in the early 1930s. However, the spirit he expressed in 1916 - combining fidelity to Freud's fundamental contributions and openness to innovation - animates psychoanalysis in Boston to this day.

We aim to create for you a picture of the development and the current state of psychoanalytic practice, training, and research in our home city, manifest in our representing three disciplines: psychology, clinical social work, and psychiatry. While we write as members of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, we will also include other perspectives, in particular that of the PINE Psychoanalytic Center.

Early History

The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute (known locally as BPSI, pronounced bipsy) joined the American Psychoanalytic Association in 1933. The Boston Psychoanalytic Institute, the training component of the Society, was founded by an energetic group of analysts in their 30s who had briefly studied in Vienna and Berlin. With the advent of European refugee analysts, BPSI gained greatly in intellectual power and clinical experience.

Several generations of psychoanalysts have by now trained at BPSI, and roughly 100 have made significant contributions to the psychoanalytic literature, in both adult analysis and child analysis.

[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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