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Robbins, L.L. (1981). American Psychoanalysis: Origins and Development. The Adolf Meyer Seminars: Edited by Jacques Quen and Eric T. Carlson. New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1978. 216 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 50:262-265.
   

(1981). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 50:262-265

American Psychoanalysis: Origins and Development. The Adolf Meyer Seminars: Edited by Jacques Quen and Eric T. Carlson. New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1978. 216 pp.

Review by:
Lewis L. Robbins

This publication of the Adolf Meyer Seminars, which were given at Cornell Medical Center, provides an accurate historical perspective while also presenting discussions of the current status of psychoanalysis and its future. The series goes significantly beyond previously available material and "sets the record straight" about a number of controversial issues that arose over the years. Many of these issues, involving matters of theory and training, were colored by the personalities of some of the early leaders. Each of the speakers is eminently qualified to discuss his or her particular topic and does so in a most literate fashion.

Although Freud did not view the United States as the optimum soil for the growth of psychoanalysis, the circumstances of history shifted the locus of its developmental struggles and successes to these shores. The first three chapters deal with the European origins of and reactions to psychoanalysis, the American response to it, and the impact psychoanalysis has had on our culture. Psychoanalysis as a psychological system incorporates a body of ideas for which the times were ripe at the beginning of the twentieth century, both in Europe and in the United States. Great changes in all the arts reflected an awareness of unconscious mental processes and a desire to express deeper emotions. Interest in and attitudes about sexuality were being openly discussed, and sexual mores were freer than they had been in the earlier Victorian period.

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