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Jacobs, T.J. (2000). On Insight and Engagement. Changing Ideas In A Changing World: The Revolution in Psychoanalysis. Essays in Honour of Arnold Cooper, 3-10.

Jacobs, T.J. (2000). On Insight and Engagement. Changing Ideas In A Changing World: The Revolution in Psychoanalysis. Essays in Honour of Arnold Cooper, 3-10

Part I Perspective on the Change in Psychoanalysis

On Insight and Engagement Book Information Previous Up Next

Theodore J. Jacobs, M.D.

Psychoanalysis in America is just catching up with Arnold Cooper. Anticipating current developments in our field, from early in his career, Cooper advocated a broad, integrative, and flexible approach to psychoanalysis theory and technique. Consistently emphasizing the link between mind and brain, he was one of the first to recognize the important contributions that neuroscience and psychoanalysis could make to each other. These views made Arnold Cooper a “modern” psychoanalyst many years ago. In fact, one might say that Cooper is an analyst whose time has come.

The view of analysis that characterizes Cooper's work, however, was not one much appreciated by most of my teachers. At the New York Psychoanalytic Institute in the early sixties, colleagues like Cooper, trained at the camp of the much disparaged Sandor Rado, were regarded as ersatz analysts, that is, psychotherapists who held themselves out to be, but clearly were masquerading as, psychoanalysts.

This was a time in which concern about the assimilation, dilution, and ultimate erosion of Freudian analysis was at its height in traditional institutes. Any departure from classical approach was dismissed as being of little value, and deliberately omitted from the curriculum. Freudian theory, and pretty much only Freudian theory, was taught, and truths about the human mind and its disorders were thought to reside solely in classical analysis and the drive-defence model of mental functioning.

The analyst's psychology was viewed as a factor of little importance in the analytic process. In case conferences countertransference was almost never mentioned.

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