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Busch, F. (2015). Our Vital Profession. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 96(3):553-568.

(2015). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 96(3):553-568

Our Vital Profession Language Translation

Fred Busch

Occasionally it is useful to remind ourselves of the vital role psychoanalysis plays in helping our patients regain what is basic to their humanity. At the same time the vitality of our methods can be seen in important paradigm changes in the psychoanalytic method in the last 40 years. This is not to underestimate that significant differences exist amongst schools of thought. A key challenge to our individual and collective growth is the difficulty in engaging with the ever-expanding knowledge posed by different perspectives.

We've all heard the depressive views of our profession: the impossible profession; our dying profession; the pain of being an analyst; a dangerous profession, etc. Today, I am here to present our profession in a different light - the vital profession. I will not be Pollyannaish in presenting my view, as at times, our work is painful, and seemingly impossible. However, when we forget the vital nature of what we do, it can sometimes feel even more painful, impossible, dangerous and daunting, and we forget about the endless possibilities of the mind.

From its beginning to the present, psychoanalysts have been working to help their patients find or re-find the core of what it means to be alive and human - that is, the human mind. No matter what our theoretical perspective, we are all trying to open up spaces in a patient's mind that were previously closed off, and in this way we help them re-find their mind. Our colleague, Marilia Aisenstein, captured this vital nature of our endeavor when she stated:

Analysis is uncompromising in relation to other therapies because it alone aims … at aiding our patients to become, or to become again, the principal agents in their own history and thought.

[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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