Psykoanalysen I Norge (Psychoanalysis in Norway): Per Anthi and Sverre Varvin (editors). Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1993.
Review by: Reimer Jensen
The Norwegian Psychanalytic Institute marked its 25th anniversary with a series of lectures which are now published in book form.
All papers were read by Norwegian psychoanalysts. They are easy to read, very informative and inspiring, dealing with actual and deep, long-range problems in psychoanalysis.
Unfortunately, the book can only be read by people with a knowledge of Scandinavian languages, so that translation into English or other more widely known languages must be considered.
Only the first two papers deal with specifically Norwegian aspects of psychoanalysis (Randolf Alnæs: The History of Psychoanalysis in Norway and Peter Andreas Holter: Harald Schjelderup a Pioneer).
As Professor of Psychology at Oslo University for a number of years, Harald Schjelderup was influential in the development of psychology as well as psychoanalysis, not only in Norway, but also in other countries, especially in Scandinavia.
A large group of Danish students of psychology visited Oslo in 1947. It was surprising (almost shocking) to learn how dynamic psychology and psychoanalysis was integrated in the curriculum for Norwegian students of psychology. Freud's name, his theories and writings had hardly been mentioned at that time in the Department of Psychology at the University of Copenhagen, while other fields were well elaborated. It was considered wise not even to mention Freud at the final examination. However, this changed very rapidly.
The first stages in the development of psychoanalysis in Norway are well elucidated by Randolf Alnæs who has previously written excellently on this topic.
The rest of the chapters deal with more general aspects of psychoanalysis which are of central importance for understanding the mainstream in the development of psychanalysis, seen in a historical perspective and within a scientific framework.
Roar Svalheim discusses the unconscious which was known before Freud, but never studied from a systematic point of view or included in a scientific theory and used in therapeutic work. Freud's understanding of hysterical reactions and other neuroticsymptoms inaugurated a new area of study of the human psyche, but this was only gradually accepted by university people and the public.
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