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Kuriloff, E. (2015). Great Ideas and Dumb Luck in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Am. J. Psychoanal., 75(2):154-158.

(2015). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(2):154-158

Great Ideas and Dumb Luck in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Emily Kuriloff, Psy.D.

Both Dr. Kuriloff's initial contribution to the Roundtable, and her later response to her fellow discussants focus on the social construction of psychoanalytic theories of therapeutic action. She notes the promise of the enlightenment/ modern era as impetus for an initially positivist “science” of psychoanalysis, and then implicates the scourge of the Shoah as that which galvanized the largely Jewish seminal community to cling to universal, versus contextual theories and technique. That the deconstruction of truth and authority, beginning with the post-war “baby boom” and student movements in the United States and Europe, put an end to one metapsychology is yet another example of the power of context upon ideas and praxis. This seemingly haphazard pairing of context and content determines the degree to which theories are embraced or ignored within any particular body politic, or within our tiny community at one time or another, prompting Kuriloff to warn against over valuing and/or excluding any theory, theorist, or technique from what we need to know and do to be helpful to people. This tension—between immersion in, and observation of the field—is what psychoanalytic theory and praxis ought to allow.

[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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