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Lorand, S. (1969). Reflections on the Development of Psychoanalysis in New York from 1925. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 50:589-595.

(1969). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 50:589-595

Reflections on the Development of Psychoanalysis in New York from 1925

Sandor Lorand

This short essay will not attempt to provide a complete history of the development of the New York Psychoanalytic Society, but rather point out certain developments, with particular reference to the strong impact of some historical events, which furthered the development of psychoanalysis in America and especially in New York.

In 1925 when I came to America, I found a different attitude in New York towards psychoanalysis from that of Europe. Whereas European physicians and psychiatrists generally showed great resistance and intolerance toward analysis, in New York many were ready to listen to analysts and a sizable segment of the lay public seemed eager to learn about psychoanalysis. There was, to be sure, no lack of criticism and resistance to the Freudian theories among the more conservative members of professional and lay groups, but the general atmosphere was far different from the rigid antagonism prevalent in Europe.

The New York Psychoanalytic Society was organized in 1911, the same year that the International Psycho-Analytical Association was formed, with the New York Society as one of its charter members. Oberndorf's (1953) history of psychoanalysis in America reports little about New York for the years between 1911 and 1925. Apparently no notable events took place and no clear-cut trends were emerging. We gather from Lewin's (1962) reminiscences that the Society for many years was an informal club-like organization, whose members included physicians and psychiatrists who were friends of analysts, but the majority of whom were not analysed.

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