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Miller, I. (1975). A Critical Assessment of the Future of Psychoanalysis a View from Within. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 23:139-153.

(1975). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 23:139-153

A Critical Assessment of the Future of Psychoanalysis a View from Within

Ira Miller, M.D.

The Chairman, Irving Sternschein introduced the proceedings by pointing out that this is the first of a two-panel series on the subject. At the second panel several psychoanalytically sophisticated scholars and thinkers from a number of other disciplines will share with us their critical appraisal as they view us from without.

Sternschein wondered why our topic so often appears on meeting programs and in our scientific journals. The more analysts seem to know, the more they know they don't know. In March, 1910, when Freud addressed the second Psychoanalytical Congress in Nuremberg on "The Future Prospects of Psychoanalytic Therapy," he must have been prompted by concerns about the results of therapy and, therefore, about the durability of psychoanalysis. Freud encouragingly predicted a substantial improvement in therapeutic effectiveness and over-all gains for society. He saw the improvement as coming from three directions: First, from accrued knowledge about the id; secondly, he seemed to have anticipated the increased role that was later to be attributed to ego functions in human development and in the therapeutic process; from a third direction, he looked forward to a "general prophylactic effect: of the dissemination of psychoanalytic knowledge on society as a whole."

Some of the most salient psychoanalytic motives and/or consequences of past self-examination by analysts in connection with the future of psychoanalysis have been related to the nature and conditions of the analyst's work. Good scientific papers have a quasi-interpretive impact on their audience. Papers and discussions involving reassessment of our science, such as will be heard on this panel, usually have a similar interpretive effect.

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