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Litowitz, B.E. (2002). Continuity and Change in Psychoanalytic Theory. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 50(1):13-17.

(2002). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 50(1):13-17

Continuity and Change in Psychoanalytic Theory

Bonnie E. Litowitz

Se vogliamo che tutto rimanga come è, bisogna che tutto cambi.

If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.

Tomasi Di Lampedusa, The Leopard

Plus ça change, plus c 'est la même chose.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

French Proverb

In its more than one-hundred-year history, psychoanalysis has undergone many changes. Yet some concepts endure, and these may be considered defining, distinguishing psychoanalysis from other forms of treatment and from other theories of how the mind works. While there is general agreement on this fact, there is more controversy over what precisely are the unique contributions of psychoanalysis.

For fifty years this journal has recorded both the history and the debates that have dominated our profession, especially as it has been practiced in the United States. This issue, number one, begins our fiftieth anniversary year by examining change and continuity in psychoanalytic theory.

Freud's training as a neurologist informed his early work on aphasia. He brought that knowledge to bear on the new set of clinical problems he encountered, first in Paris and then in Vienna: the hysterias. His Project for a Scientific Psychology (1895) documents his attempt to understand psychological processes from a neurophysio-logical perspective. He abandoned that project because he could not fashion, out of the knowledge of the brain then available to him, the explanations for mind that he was seeking.

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