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Skolnikoff, A.Z. (2004). The Quest for a Unified Psychoanalytic Theory: A Retreat from Uncertainty. Psychoanal. Inq., 24(1):86-105.

(2004). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 24(1):86-105

The Quest for a Unified Psychoanalytic Theory: A Retreat from Uncertainty

Alan Z. Skolnikoff, M.D.

There has been a historical shift in psychoanalysis from an earlier time of certainty to our present state of uncertainty with the coexistence of multiple theories competing for our attention. We realize retrospectively how entrenched groups ruled our institutions by maintaining faith in their authority as the keepers of “pure” psychoanalysis. Despite struggles between competing ideologies, there has been progress in integrating clinical theories. As no psychoanalytic theory or technique has been proved superior, we advocate an inclusive approach with all psychoanalysts keeping an open mind about the value of competing theories. This integration of disparate theories has led to a resurgence of interest in psychoanalytic training. Examples are given of some of the difficulties encountered when competing ideas are introduced in psychoanalytic groups.

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