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Schachter, J. (2005). Contemporary American Psychoanalysis: A Profession?: Increasing the Role of Research in Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Psychol., 22(4):473-492.

(2005). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 22(4):473-492

Contemporary American Psychoanalysis: A Profession?: Increasing the Role of Research in Psychoanalysis

Joseph Schachter, M.D., Ph.D.

The simmering crisis confronting American psychoanalysis today is, in part, a function of fundamental theoretical and clinical disagreements within psychoanalysis itself. Psychoanalytic training, which conveys the special knowledge of our profession, and its application to techniques of treatment have become fragmented and frayed; boundaries have lost definition and our qualification as a profession is vitiated. Our diminished status is reflected in reduced public support and our smaller share of the patient population. Debate seems unable to resolve these disagreements. Acknowledgment of this reduced status creates the need and the opportunity for an increased role for research in psychoanalysis and the development of an analytic research enterprise capable of exploring for empirical resolutions of basic questions and disputes. Such a concerted effort to define the psychoanalytic enterprise through empirically supported basic tenets is necessary to avoid further dissipation of the markers of our psychoanalytic identity, both as individuals and as a profession.

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