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Merlino, J.P. (2006). Psychoanalysis and Ethics—Relevant Then, Essential Now. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 34(2):231-247.

(2006). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 34(2):231-247

Psychoanalysis and Ethics—Relevant Then, Essential Now

Joseph P. Merlino, M.D., M.P.A.

The general concepts of morality and ethics are presented followed by an overview of the history of medical ethics from Hippocrates to the founding of the American Medical Association, whose Code of Ethics psychiatrists follow. The particular relevance of these topics to the founding of psychoanalysis is explored utilizing a 50-year review of the professional literature.

The ethical underpinnings of Freud's theory and practice are highlighted revealing Freud to be anything but anti-ethics. The ethical dimension of contemporary ethical theory and practice is also presented together with a discussion of the developmental acquisition of an ethical attitude.

The article concludes with a discussion of the current relevance and future importance of morality and ethics if medicine (including psychiatry and psychoanalysis) is to survive as a profession.

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