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Hildebrand, H.P. (1976). Reflexions on the Future of Psychoanalysis. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 3:323-330.

(1976). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 3:323-330

Reflexions on the Future of Psychoanalysis

H. P. Hildebrand

… last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
T. S. ELIOT

As a psychoanalyst, I cannot ignore the future. Though I may work in terms of time past and time present, my professional concern must also be with time future. I must try to help my patients create a future for themselves which will be more free, less fantasy-ridden and which offers greater flexibility of choice. Yet, this involvement in another person's time, repeated over and over again, session after session, leaves me little opportunity or inclination to consider my own future and that of my profession; I tend to treat the future as if it were equivalent to the past and the present—given a reasonably stable and unchanging situation. I assume that I will follow my career, reach a position of responsibility in my professional group, make scientific contributions, perhaps teach. The demand for my services will vary somewhat, but basically psychoanalysis seems established enough for me to expect that change will come gradually and at a pace with which I can cope.

I think that this brief statement about the way I might see the future reflects not only my attitude but also those of the friends with whom I talk and the discussion groups which I attend. Therefore I was surprised when, having been asked to write this paper, I began to survey what my colleagues had written. My naive expectation was that there would be little controversy and that I would only need to collate their forecasts and express my own position with regard to whatever appeared to be the major trends.

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