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Viederman, M. (2000). A Psychoanalytic Stance. Changing Ideas In A Changing World: The Revolution in Psychoanalysis. Essays in Honour of Arnold Cooper, 57-64.

Viederman, M. (2000). A Psychoanalytic Stance. Changing Ideas In A Changing World: The Revolution in Psychoanalysis. Essays in Honour of Arnold Cooper, 57-64

A Psychoanalytic Stance Book Information Previous Up Next

Milton Viederman, M.D.

Psychoanalytic Training and Early Aftermath

The imagined Freud of theory as elaborated in his papers on technique is quite different from the Freud who revealed himself in his clinical work and as revealed by the experience of his analysands. I made first acquaintance with the imagined Freud at the Columbia Psychoanalytic Center where I trained. Its founder, Sandor Rado, had founded the Hungarian Psychoanalytic Society before becoming a major figure in the Berlin Institute. Upon arriving in New York he developed the first curriculum at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. His repudiation of aspects of classical theory led to controversy and he decided to found a University Institute at Columbia with the idea of bringing psychoanalysis into the mainstream of academia. By the time I began my training his highly authoritarian, anti-classical stance was losing its influence in a faculty that was remarkably eclectic. Yet there was concern about orthodoxy among the candidates. Psychoanalysis was an ideal, an ideal to be achieved through an understanding of theory rooted in Freud's work and an ideal to be practised in analytic work. It had a purity that was not to be defiled. The analytic situation was seen as having an exquisite sensitivity. Inappropriate “nonanalytic behaviour” could have dire consequences and interfere with a true analysis, for indeed there was a true analysis. My response to this was to be extremely cautious analytically, to defend against my inclination toward spontaneity and to be constricted in my analytic role.

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