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Friedman, R.C. Downey, J.I. Alfonso, C. (2014). Editorial: Contemporary Psychodynamic Psychiatry. Psychodyn. Psych., 42(4):585-591.

(2014). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 42(4):585-591

Editorial: Contemporary Psychodynamic Psychiatry

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

Richard D. Chessick presents a somber view of contemporary psychoanalysis and dynamic psychotherapy. He attributes the decline of psychoanalysis in the U.S. (in large degree) to the deterioration of American culture and sees American society as dissolute and violent. He suggests that psychoanalysis has been victimized and presents it as an oasis of civilization barely afloat in a sea of barbarism. Our view is less nihilistic, more integrative of extra-analytic research and scholarship, and has broader clinical applications.

Modern Psychodynamic Psychiatry

Chessick refers to psychodynamic psychotherapy (and by implication, psychodynamic psychiatry) as the “child” of psychoanalysis. This may have been so years ago but no longer. Times have changed although the model of the mind that classical psychoanalysts advocate has not. Free association by the patient and evenly hovering attention by the analyst initially advanced knowledge of the mind and the treatment of patients. One would be hard put to argue that this method has led to progress in knowledge or in improved therapeutic results in the past four or five decades (Kandel, 1999). In fact, major theoretical advances have primarily come from reactions of psychoanalysts to extra-psychoanalytic research.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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