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McLaughlin, F. (1978). Some Perspectives on Psychoanalysis Today. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 26:3-20.

(1978). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 26:3-20

Some Perspectives on Psychoanalysis Today

Francis McLaughlin, M.D.

IT IS AN HONOR AND A PRIVILEGE to speak to the American Psychoanalytic Association in plenary session. I want to take this opportunity to express one man's point of view, from an experience of 30 years in clinical psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic education, and administration.

As usual, the art and the practice of psychoanalysis is in a critical position. This seems to be the natural state of our field. We have ample evidence for the correctness of Freud's 1937 description of psychoanalysis as one of the three impossible professions (the other two being education and government).

I shall say relatively little about the numerous serious external factors we are feeling more and more in our work, important though I consider these to be, because I wish to focus on internal questions.

At present there are many prophets of doom, both within and outside of the psychoanalytic brotherhood. From outside we hear that analysis is unworkable, irrelevant, only for the favored few, our theory may be good (but maybe not), but as therapy, psychoanalysis has nothing to offer. Our convictions about psychoanalysis are being challenged on all sides; in order to meet these challenges it is necessary for us to clarify, specify, and describe our basic convictions.

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