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Bornstein, R.F. Huprich, S.K. (2015). Prologue: Toward an Empirically Informed 21st-Century Psychoanalysis: Challenges and Opportunities. Psychoanal. Inq., 35S(Supplement):2-4.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 35S(Supplement):2-4

Prologue

Prologue: Toward an Empirically Informed 21st-Century Psychoanalysis: Challenges and Opportunities

Robert F. Bornstein, Ph.D. and Steven K. Huprich, Ph.D.

As most psychodynamic clinicians and scholars are well aware, psychoanalysis has long been under attack in clinical settings, in academia, and in the public domain, as well. Although many of these attacks are unfounded, their accumulated impact is nonetheless significant. Just as a politician’s repeated assertions that her opponent is untrustworthy will eventually alter people’s perceptions of the person being attacked—regardless of the veracity of these assertions—decades of unfounded accusations have led psychologists and members of the public to believe, incorrectly, that psychoanalytic concepts are untested, untestable, and repeatedly disconfirmed by empirical studies. (The fact that these three statements cannot simultaneously be true seems not to have impeded their broad acceptance in the professional and lay communities.) As a result, psychoanalysis has been increasingly marginalized, in both research and clinical settings; the situation has grown so dire that some writers have gone so far as to predict the impending death of psychoanalysis.

These criticisms notwithstanding, there have been a number of compelling empirical studies, literature reviews, and meta-analyses in recent years documenting the effectiveness of psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapy, and the heuristic value and clinical utility of a broad array of psychoanalytic concepts. To maximize the impact of these investigations it is important that the psychoanalytic community—and the broader mental health community as well—be made aware of the most compelling contemporary research testing and evaluating psychoanalytic ideas.

[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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