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Skolnikoff, A.Z. (1993). New Foundations for Psychoanalysis: By Jean Laplanche. Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell, 1989, 176 pp., $14.95.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 41:284-288.

(1993). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 41:284-288

New Foundations for Psychoanalysis: By Jean Laplanche. Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell, 1989, 176 pp., $14.95.

Review by:
Alan Z. Skolnikoff, M.D.

The title of the book suggests the kind of provocation the reader will encounter from the start through this relatively short but intense work. From the introduction on, it is the author's stated motive to question classic presumptions in psychoanalysis. This "means upsetting things and putting the very basis of the whole psychoanalytic experience to the test" (p. 1). Laplanche objects to borrowing concepts from outside of the psychoanalytic experience (nineteenth-century physiology, such as in Freud's "project for a scientific psychology," mythology, or other behavioral or pure sciences). He prefers to rest all of his concepts within the psychoanalytic experience itself.

Psychoanalytic experience is divided into (1) clinical psychoanalysis, (2) export psychoanalysis (this refers to all forms of applied analysis), (3) theory, and (4) history. Laplanche seriously objects to the empiricism or pragmatism associated with English and American psychoanalytic psychology. He sees the concept of interaction as one that destroys the complexity of the clinical situation.

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