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Meissner, W.W. (2006). Prospects for Psychoanalysis in the 21st Century. Psychoanal. Psychol., 23(2):239-256.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 23(2):239-256

Prospects for Psychoanalysis in the 21st Century

W. W. Meissner, M.D.

This article is responding to the question: what is it that will enrich and sustain the discipline of psychoanalysis during the remainder of the twenty-first century. I argue that continued vitality requires that analysis demonstrate its value and utility in relation to other psychologically relevant fields of human inquiry. Analysis cannot afford to remain isolated within the private confines of the analytic consulting room, but it must also dare to cast its lot with the uncertainties of ongoing research and understanding arising in other related fields. I begin analysis of these problems by discussing first some organizational issues that might facilitate such collaboration and communication, and then some issues related to interdisciplinary collaborative research. I focus particularly on questions related to the dialogue between psychoanalysis and religious thought and between psychoanalysis and neuroscience. These are only two among a multiplicity of fields in which interdisciplinary opportunities arise, but they exemplify the basic challenges to continued psychoanalytic progress and innovation. I finish with some thoughts about the diversity of analytic theoretical conceptualizations and their implications for facilitating or inhibiting such interdisciplinary efforts.

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