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de Mijolla, A. (2002). Foreword. Psychoanal. Hist., 4(1):3-4.

(2002). Psychoanalysis and History, 4(1):3-4

Articles: Meeting of the IAHP

Foreword

Alain de Mijolla, M.D.

Psychoanalysis is in crisis. That pronouncement is often heard or read. But what is most frequently forgotten is that it has always been shaken by crises, often described as ringing its death knell. This has been going on since the very beginning of Freud's research. The history of psychoanalysis has been punctuated with crises: with the outside world, alternating between downright hostility or a state of rapture, being excessively seduced by the siren song of fashion; within the evolving movement itself in which ideas and strong personalities have always been wont to clash; crises that have also permanently rocked the framework of the psychoanalytical cure, and, as I have often underscored, there has always been the necessity of ‘managing conscious and unconscious conflicts’ created and maintained by the transference situation in the repetition of childhood events.

How did the first Freudians, and their successors, respond generation after generation to these conflicts, unveiled even as they elaborated their theories and made their clinical innovations? How did they adapt to the new fields of practice encountered throughout the century by way of the evolution of morals, socio-economic upheavals, political unrest, the tragedies and, consequently, the new forms of pathology that ensued? These questions are not purely academic, but must lead to the future, to the need for psychoanalysis to adjust to the ever-changing world, so that it remains compatible with the preservation and enrichment of its essential hypotheses—which Freud in 1923 designated as its ‘pillars’:

The acceptance of unconscious psychical processes, the recognition of the doctrine of resistance and repression, and taking sexuality and the Oedipus complex into account are the principal contents of psychoanalysis and the foundation of its theory, and whoever cannot subscribe to all of them should not be counted among psychoanalysts.

How

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