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Friedman, R.C. Downey, J.I. (2012). Psychodynamic Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis. Psychodyn. Psych., 40(1):5-22.

(2012). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 40(1):5-22

Psychodynamic Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis

Richard C. Friedman, M.D. and Jennifer I. Downey, M.D.

Since the creation of psychoanalysis the intellectual territory it has included has been vast. Psychoanalysis signified a way of understanding all human behavior and psychological development, normal and abnormal. Psychoanalytic theory was applied to understanding cultural phenomena, historical events, and artistic works. The term “psychoanalysis” also came to signify a particular type of intensive and lengthy psychological exploration of the self, usually used for treatment of neurotic and personality-disordered patients.

Sixty years ago when psychoanalysis was the principle organizing theory in psychiatry, the founders of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis created the Journal to address issues they felt were not being sufficiently discussed by established psychoanalytic organizations of the time. They sought to examine new theories, provide new approaches to psychoanalytic treatment, and publish research that would confirm or disprove psychoanalytic beliefs about psychological functioning. This open approach to knowledge has become accepted over time and is not now considered controversial. When the journal was begun, however, it was beyond controversial. It was iconoclastic.

In the years since these vital events much has changed in the field of psychiatry. Psychoanalytic ideas ceased to provide a generally accepted framework for understanding all mental disorders. The first two Diagnostic Manuals published by The American Psychiatric Association had been strongly influenced by psychoanalytic thought.

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