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Green, A. (2001). Advice to Psychoanalysts: “Cognitive Psychology Is Good for You”: Commentary by André Green. Neuropsychoanalysis, 3(1):16-19.

(2001). Neuropsychoanalysis, 3(1):16-19

Advice to Psychoanalysts: “Cognitive Psychology Is Good for You”: Commentary by André Green

André Green, M.D.

Carlo Semenza, in his paper “Psychoanalysis and Cognitive Neuropsychology,” quotes my work several times. Probably his European situation enables him to be informed of my work, which I suppose is more accessible to an Italian than to a scientist who lives in North America and speaks only North American English. North American English, the presumed language for scientific communication, is assumed to be familiar to non-English-speaking writers. Semenza's attempt to communicate with psychoanalysts—moreover, European psychoanalysts—is to be commended for its willingness to establish a dialogue. But, if we read carefully, we notice a difference between the tone of the article and the tone of the conclusion. The latter bears witness to a prescriptive attitude. Semenza decides what is good and what is bad for psychoanalysis. This attitude is becoming common among scientists who wish to reform psychoanalysis. They have decided what psychoanalysis should look like. What would one say of psychoanalysts advising neurologists? Needless to say, Semenza presents his conception of psychoanalysis. “Psychoanalysis does not need unconstrained theorizing” (p. 9), he writes. Semenza proposes himself as a proper “constrainer” for us. Leaving neurology aside, he adds: [Freud] may have unwittingly set the scene for a kind of perversion (p. 9). Are most psychoanalysts unwitting perverts? Are Winnicott, Bion, Loewald, and Searles, among many others, supposed to be “wild speculators”? On the contrary, their writings are based on their clinical experience.

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