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Goldsmith, G.N. (2002). Between certainty and uncertainty: Observations on psychoanalysis in Russia. J. Anal. Psychol., 47(2):203-224.

(2002). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 47(2):203-224

Between certainty and uncertainty: Observations on psychoanalysis in Russia

Gary N. Goldsmith, M.D.

‘Diversity’, the theme of our conference, carries a subversive sub-text in totalitarian societies. This is one of the themes presented as the current revival of psychoanalysis in the more democratic post-Communist Russia is explored. The history of psychoanalysis in Russia is summarized with a focus on its politicization, which led to initial interest in its theory (by way of a misapprehension of its tenets), and then to ultimate suppression of psychoanalytic thinking as an ideology deemed antagonistic to the totalitarian regime. In contrast, features of psychoanalysis and democracy are explored for their mutual affinities. The background of the resourceful new generation of analytic therapists is discussed, especially in regard to their experience of the parallel meanings of the word ‘repression’ (political, psychological). There is a persistence of some traits in patients and practitioners alike that are referable to past repression, such as the newness of verbal treatments, the inhibition of psychological curiosity, the ambivalent lure of certainty, and the pressure of authoritarian introjects. It is noted that psychoanalysis has its own history of a posture opposed to pluralism and diversity, which deepens the dialogue on the mutual engagement between psychoanalysis and the vicissitudes of its history in Russian culture.?

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