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Richards, A. (2020). The Organizational Life of Psychoanalysis, by Kenneth Eisold. Routledge, New York, 2018, 262 pp.. Psychodyn. Psych., 48(2):201-211.

(2020). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 48(2):201-211

The Organizational Life of Psychoanalysis, by Kenneth Eisold. Routledge, New York, 2018, 262 pp.

Review by:
Arnold Richards, M.D.

This review will be very personal because I have been in the same psychoanalytic organizational trenches as Ken Eisold, the author of The Organizational Life of Psychoanalysis: Conflicts, Dilemmas, and the Future of the Profession. The papers in the book were published originally over the past 20 years and consider the organizational history of psychoanalysis starting with Freud and the early years of the Viennese Society; the split in the New York Society; the practice of psychoanalysis; the theory of psychoanalysis; Freud versus Jung as well as the training of psychoanalysts; and the faculty and training analyst system. Our organizational difficulties are a result of the split which occurred in 1942 when Karen Horney left the New York Psychoanalytic Institute (NYPI) and started a new institute, which in turn split into two institutes, including the William Alanson White Institute in which Ken trained. I have remained in the NYPI, which is the focus of Chapter 2, but in fact I share with Ken Eisold the view of the rigidity and orthodoxy which was entrenched there and continues today. To illustrate that point, recently a very good candidate was not allowed to progress in training because his analyst, who had applied to become a training analyst (TA), had not yet been appointed. The candidate was told that he could not continue his training unless he left what he considered a good analysis and connected with an American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) training analyst.

I started out in the NYPI as a loyal soldier of the establishment but broke with the reigning group first in the 1990s when I delivered the Brill lecture-A.A. Brill and the Politics of Exclusion-and when I started a discussion on the APsaA listserv opposing the certification requirements for membership, running for office, voting for bylaws, and becoming a training analyst. My rebellion led to my becoming an outcast at my own institute.

[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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