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Suler, J.R. (2000). Exploring Psychoanalysis on the Web. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 2(2):205-208.

(2000). Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 2(2):205-208

Legacy: Contemporary Media Forum

Exploring Psychoanalysis on the Web

John R. Suler, Ph.D.

I'm glad I used the term “exploring” in the title of this piece. On my last visit to the Alta Vista search engine ( I entered the keyword “psychoanalysis” and was rewarded with 86,000 hits. Even the best search engines only cover about 40% of cyberspace, so that's most likely a modest estimate of psychoanalysis on the Internet. There is a great deal of information about psychoanalysis to explore in cyberspace, so how does one undertake such a Herculean task?

First, it's important to remember that receiving 86,000 hits does not mean that there are that many web sites devoted to psychoanalysis. It means that the word “psychoanalysis” appears on (at least) 86,000 pages—which includes pages devoted exclusively to psychoanalytic topics as well as pages where “psychoanalysis” was mentioned in passing. Powerful search engines that produce many hits will attempt to rank those hits, placing at the top those pages that deal primarily with psychoanalysis. But that ranking system does not always work to your advantage. The page you want may appear far down the list. If you are looking for web sites devoted exclusively to psychoanalysis, one method is to use a LESS powerful search engine, like WebCrawler ( These engines will produce a much shorter list of pages, but usually only pages where psychoanalysis is the major theme.

Another strategy involves using more specific keywords and Boolean parameters to find specific pages. Embedding your keywords inside quotation marks—such as “American Psychoanalytic Association”—will tell many search engines to look for pages containing that specific order of words. If you use Boolean parameters such as AND, AND NOT, OR, and NEAR you can make your search even more precise.

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