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Enckell, H. Enckell, M. (2013). The companion to the unknown. With the question as a starting-point and the mystery as a destination?. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 36(1):5-11.

(2013). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 36(1):5-11

Primary Articles

The companion to the unknown. With the question as a starting-point and the mystery as a destination?

Henrik Enckell and Mikael Enckell

Many authors have shown that Freud, irrespective of his own claims, was influenced by his Jewish background, and that this background forms part of his scientific contribution. Today, many psychoanalysts say that we have parted from many of Freud´s basic assumptions, and that contemporary psychoanalytic theory is based on empirical evidence. One may thus ask if the Jewish origins have vanished from the scene of psychoanalysis. The claim of this paper is that this is not the case. As an influential example of contemporary psychoanalytic theory, the authors present the basic ideas of the Boston Change Process Study Group (BCPSG). Following that, they describe the defining moment of Jewish belief and identity, i.e., the covenant at Sinai. The authors argue that there are many parallels between the myth of Sinai and the “moments of meeting” of the BCPSG: in both descriptions (1) we have a meeting; (2) the counterpart of the meeting includes an Other; (3) in the meeting one leaves one´s idiosyncrasies behind; (4) and becomes oneself through (5) an alliance. As a conclusion, the authors briefly discuss how this parallel influences the scientific credibility of psychoanalysis, how specific the outlined characteristics are for precisely Jewish thought, and to what degree contemporary psychoanalysis has really changed from Freud´s time.

[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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