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Gaskill, H.S. (1979). Bridges to the Future. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 27:3-25.

(1979). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 27:3-25

Bridges to the Future

Herbert S. Gaskill, M.D.

THE ASSOCIATION EACH YEAR at the Midwinter Meeting graciously affords the past President an opportunity to address the membership on a topic which reflects his scientific and/or professional interests and concerns. As one reviews these Presidential Addresses, one is left with the impression that the gradient between aspirations and achievement is high. Further, that certain themes tend to be repetitious and that structural changes occur slowly in a professional organization not unlike those which take place in an individual during analysis (Rapaport, 1960). Has our analytic work predisposed us to accept this slow pace—possibly too complacently?

Psychoanalysis, in common with all of the professions, is facing an existential crisis both from within and from without. Each profession and the society which supports it have defined its identity in three ways: i.e., (1) the traditional educational experiences which lead to professional competence, (2) the scientific paradigm which defines its boundaries, and (3) the services which it provides.

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