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Zaphiropoulos, M.L. (1982). Is the Medical Model Appropriate for Psychoanalysis?. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 10(1):129-135.

(1982). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 10(1):129-135

Is the Medical Model Appropriate for Psychoanalysis?

Miltiades L. Zaphiropoulos, M.D.

The very question that constitutes the subject of this presentation necessitates the asking of a series of additional questions if any forthcoming answers are to be understandable and useful. A few of these questions are: to what do we refer by the “medical model?” Assuming an acceptable definition of the medical model or one we can stipulate, to what aspects of psychoanalysis do we propose to examine its appropriateness? Furthermore, can this second question be approached without agreeing on some definitions or, at least, some understanding of what is psychoanalysis?

Insofar as The American Academy of Psychoanalysis is concerned it is important to remember that the basic question has been raised and addressed in various guises: directly, in a published presidential address (Crowley, 1968) and in one article in The Journal of The American Academy of Psychoanalysis (Redlich, 1974); and indirectly, in three other published presidential addresses (Chodoff, 1977; Schimel, 1979; and Yamamoto, 1980) and in numerous editorial or other discussions at meetings or in publications of The Academy. One may wonder about and speculate as to the reasons for such concern and probably hypothesize that it reflects both scientific and political considerations. As usual, any appropriation by or attribution to any individual or group of the essence or exclusiveness of these considerations is likely to be a matter of personal preference, if not pretense, and of more or less adversarial inclinations. In this regard, it should be noted further that similar concerns have been voiced about psychiatry in general, from within that specialty and from outside, ancillary, or other critics.

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