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Eriksson, J. (2014). Freud's Psychoanalysis: A Moral Cure. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(4):663-675.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(4):663-675

Freud's Psychoanalysis: A Moral Cure

Johan Eriksson

(Accepted for publication 21 November 2013)

That psychoanalytical treatment in its classical Freudian sense is primarily a moral or ethical cure is not a very controversial claim. However, it is far from obvious how we are to understand precisely the moral character of psychoanalysis. It has frequently been proposed that this designation is valid because psychoanalysis strives neither to cure psychological symptoms pharmaceutically, nor to superficially modify the behaviour of the analysand, but to lead the analysand through an interpretive process during which he gradually gains knowledge of the unconscious motives that determine his behaviour, a process that might ideally liberate him to obtain, in relation to his inner desires, the status of a moral agent. There resides something appealing in these claims. But it is the author's belief that there is an even deeper moral dimension applying to psychoanalytical theory and praxis. Freudian psychoanalysis is a moral cure due to its way of thematizing psychological suffering as moral suffering. And this means that the moral subject - the being that can experience moral suffering - is not primarily something that the psychoanalytical treatment strives to realize, but rather the presupposition for the way in which psychoanalysis theorizes psychological problems as such.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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