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Cooper, A.M. (1991). Psychoanalysis: The Past Decade. Psychoanal. Inq., 11(1/2):107-122.

(1991). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 11(1/2):107-122

Psychoanalysis: The Past Decade

Arnold M. Cooper, M.D.

Two phenomena, the increased acceptance of psychoanalytic theoretical pluralism and the modification of our psychoanalytic professional structures around the settlement of the famous “lawsuit,” signaled the major changes of the decade of the eighties. It is conceivable that the end of the eighties, in psychoanalysis as in the “real world,” may mark the end of several of our own cold wars. Our previously relatively orderly theoretical borders, once forming an iron curtain that was impervious to ideas from “the other side,” now seem permeable and even welcoming. The tenacious maintenance of certain theoretical and political boundaries — our Berlin walls, if you wish — that seemed so important until recently, and that has been the source of friction and battle for decades, has seemed increasingly quixotic rather than scientific; perhaps this will lead to an era of greater psychoanalytic cooperation and discourse, if not harmony. As in the “real world,” this peace may be accompanied by enormous confusion and a period of disorderly growth and perhaps regression, as we attempt to adapt to new circumstances.


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