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Busch, F.N. (2016). How the Impact of Medication on Psychoanalytic Theory and Treatment Refutes Blass and Carmeli (2015). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 97(4):1151-1153.

(2016). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 97(4):1151-1153

How the Impact of Medication on Psychoanalytic Theory and Treatment Refutes Blass and Carmeli (2015) Related Papers

Fredric N. Busch

To the Editor:

Blass and Carmeli (2015) argue that neuroscience has no relevance to psychoanalysis and that the two disciplines concern unrelated data, one objective and the other focused on meaning and subjectivity. Indeed they view neuroscience as potentially dangerous to psychoanalysis. As an author who has written about integrating psychoanalytic treatments with medication (Busch and Sandberg, 2007), I am struck by the similarity between attitudes toward neuroscience expressed by Blass and Carmeli and those expressed by numerous psychoanalysts toward medication in the early years of its growing use (and still presently by some psychoanalysts). Initially believed to be inherently dangerous to psychoanalysis, medications are now welcomed by many practitioners, with provisos, as an inherent part of many psychoanalytic treatments. Indeed it can be argued that this initial exclusionary reaction manifest in analysts' unwillingness to consider medications for their analysands contributed to stalemated analyses, a backlash against psychoanalysis and a reactive idealization of medication.

In addition to helping many patients participate in psychoanalytic treatments through easing of severe symptoms, psychoanalytic theory has also been affected by observation of the impact of medication. In my view, this shows how a “biological” type of intervention can indeed impact our psychoanalytic theories. Medication can lead to rapid changes in many subjective states of interest to psychoanalysts, including a significant reduction in the severity of the superego, diminished negative self and object representations, reduced rage and anxiety, and diminished symptoms previously believed to be caused by unconscious conflict and responsive only to accurate interpretation.

[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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