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Nahum, J.P. (1999). Affect Regulation and the Origins of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development: Alan N. Schore. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1994, xxxiv + 670 pp., $135.00.. Neuropsychoanalysis, 1(2):258-263.
(1999). Neuropsychoanalysis, 1(2):258-263
Affect Regulation and the Origins of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development: Alan N. Schore. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1994, xxxiv + 670 pp., $135.00.
Review by: Jeremy P. Nahum, M.D.
As the cry of “It's all biological,” becomes more deafening, it behooves us to consider how psychoanalysis was brought to its current circumstance. As it came to be practiced in this country, especially in institutes affiliated with the American Psychoanalytic Association, psychoanalysis was forced, in response to scientific findings, to defend principles that were sustainable no longer (libido theory, tension discharge, organization of the mind). For many years the institutional tendency was to defend the structural model, on the basis of its own powerful inner logic. There was no need to reconcile psychoanalysis with contemporary science, because it stood apart, hermetic yet elegant.
As the implications of this position were played out, along with other trends in contemporary culture (HMOs, drugs, insurance), psychoanalysis found itself marginalized and dishonored. While this remains unresolved, many practitioners saw value in its basic assumptions (that meaning and motives are not transparent, that people cannot be taken at face value, that unconscious forces are always in play, that inner conflict is ubiquitous) and noticed that none of its critics attempted to offer competing explanations for phenomena psychoanalysis sought to explain. They believed there was a baby that should not be thrown out with the bathwater. They began to look to other related fields to update psychoanalysis while preserving its truths. In an effort to redeem psychoanalysis and anchor it in contemporary science, a small but evergrowing number of analytically oriented practitioners turned to developmental psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive studies, to name perhaps the more important areas (see Modell  for an elegant illustration).
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