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Katz, M. (2008). The Future of Psychoanalysis. By Richard D. Chessick. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007, 272 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 95(1):160-164.

(2008). Psychoanalytic Review, 95(1):160-164

The Future of Psychoanalysis. By Richard D. Chessick. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007, 272 pp.

Review by:
Montana Katz, Ph.D.

Richard Chessick, in his recent book, The Future of Psychoanalysis, covers a vast terrain of enduring and new questions within psychoanalytic theory and practice. He takes the reader through not only the varieties of contemporary psychoanalytic thought, but also in detail through the complex thinking of Dante, Hegel, Heidegger, Husserl, Lacan, Sartre, and Merleau Ponty, to name a few. As the title suggests, the issues at stake go to the heart not only of the core meaning and operation of psychoanalysis in the present, but also to the possibility of its very survival. The rich and nuanced discussions found in this full book are based on over three decades of Chessick's thought and voluminous writing.

Chessick calls upon psychoanalysts to consider the current state of affairs for psychoanalysis, particularly in the United States. The picture he paints is one which focuses on the large questions and problems. In this era of a high premium placed on the potential for hypermobility as a means to material success, quick answers and solutions are valued over those that are enduring and, therefore, necessarily more complex. The apparent preference for pharmaceuticals over talk therapy in recent decades indicates the sort of solutions to individual human problems being sought by dominant groups in contemporary culture. Add to this the fragmentation of psychoanalytic theory and practice into several different and mutually incompatible branches, and you have the launching point for Chessick's discussion of the viability of psychoanalysis as an effective and coherent and cohesive clinical discipline.

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