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Eisnitz, A.J. (1992). The Prisonhouse of Psychoanalysis: By Arnold Goldberg. Hillsdale, N.J.: Analytic Press. 1990. Pp. 175.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 73:598-599.

(1992). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 73:598-599

The Prisonhouse of Psychoanalysis: By Arnold Goldberg. Hillsdale, N.J.: Analytic Press. 1990. Pp. 175.

Review by:
Alan J. Eisnitz

Arnold Goldberg contends that we, psychoanalysts and psychoanalysis, have imprisoned ourselves. As a result, our freedom of intellect, our creativity, the development of our field, the willingness and ability of psychoanalysis to take its place in the world of science, interacting with, evolving from, and contributing to other sciences, are all restricted.

As a secondary, corollary theme, he maintains that analytic concepts which are not deemed to be 'authentic', principally self psychology and by implication any set of ideas which are too challenging, are also imprisoned in the sense that they are subject to disapproval and criticism and are not given full access to acceptance and the encouragement to develop. Here, the 'jailers' are the leaders of more traditional psychoanalysis and its standards, including the American Psychoanalytic Association, and, at least in the US, the psychoanalytic journals.

Goldberg notes that the psychoanalytic arena of activity, the clinical situation, is subject to multiple perspectives and conclusions, and places many conflicting and stressful demands upon the analyst. This contributes to the tendency to seek comfort and security by means of a process similar to addiction. Just as the addict attempts to fill a structural defect with an idealized substance, the analyst (and the field of psychoanalysis) can idealize psychoanalytic heroes or concepts and become addicted to them out of a need to maintain a comforting tie. This tie must not be broken; the idealization must be continued and promoted by adherence to the tenets of the hero or theory.

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