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Yorke, C. (1999). Jaak Panksepp's Response: Commentary by Clifford Yorke. Neuropsychoanalysis, 1(2):251-254.

(1999). Neuropsychoanalysis, 1(2):251-254

Jaak Panksepp's Response: Commentary by Clifford Yorke

Clifford Yorke

I appreciate the courteous and considered reply by Jaak Panksepp to the points I made in discussing his response to the paper by Solms and Nersessian. Before addressing them, I should like to say, that, to my mind, the entire exchange shows every sign that the positions taken by the various participants will leasd to the clarification vital for constructive debate.

In questioning the feasibility of the experimental use of pharmaceutical agents in the course of clinical psychoanalysis, I was in no way supporting the “fencing-in” of the discipline and “arbitrarily precluding” contacts with other forms of knowledge. If that were so, I would not be taking part in this discussion. I am entirely in agreement with Panksepp that “we do need to probe more deeply” into the problem of “how the widely used psychotherapeutic drugs modify the emotional dynamics of human personality and other dimensions of the human mind” (p. 178). I firmly believe that, if psychoanalysis can “help to craft the needed tools” (p. 178), it has a compelling duty to do so.

I have looked once more at the relevant part of my commentary, to try to see whether it invited misunderstanding, but concluded that the difficulty was perhaps of another kind. One can be familiar, even very familiar, with the main tenets of psychoanalysis but, without personal experience of the treatment process itself, it may be hard to appreciate the nature of the clinical setting in which psychoanalysts are obliged to operate.

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