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Goldberg, S.H. (1990). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXIII, 1987: Ethnocentricity in Psychoanalysis. Miltiades Zaphiropoulos. Pp. 446-462.. Psychoanal Q., 59:334.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXIII, 1987: Ethnocentricity in Psychoanalysis. Miltiades Zaphiropoulos. Pp. 446-462.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:334

Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXIII, 1987: Ethnocentricity in Psychoanalysis. Miltiades Zaphiropoulos. Pp. 446-462.

Steven H. Goldberg

The author attempts to explore transcultural factors as they may impinge upon psychoanalytic work. Ethnocentricity is understood in the double sense of a tendency to view individuals of another culture in terms of one's own, as well as a belief in the superiority of one's own group or culture. The understanding and practice of psychoanalysis are filtered through the prevailing culture and language in which any given analyst works. Attributes such as "psychological mindedness" may be difficult to assess when applied to an individual from a cultural background substantially different from one's own. The author differentiates between "allegiance" and "adhesiveness" on the part of the patient (or analyst) to "the tenets, belief systems, and experiential organizations" of the culture of origin. Allegiance refers more to prideful affirmation of the values of one's culture of origin, while adhesiveness refers to "sticky preoccupation" with one's original culture, which at times may take the form of compulsive opposition to or contempt for that culture. While areas in which the basic rule is violated may be fairly predictable in patients raised in one's own culture, this may be far less the case with patients raised in another culture. Symptoms and pathological character traits may be quite recognizable and similar to those of patients raised within the culture of the analyst, but notions of mental health, of the range of acceptable behavior, and of wished-for change may differ substantially. The practical arrangements and setting of psychoanalysis may have different meanings and be more problematic with individuals of different cultural backgrounds. The author suggests that there may exist ethnocentric aspects of psychoanalysis itself. For example, the oedipus situation, while perhaps universal, may be experienced and understood differently in different cultures. Ethnocentrically derived concepts may result in a "truncated view of another's human experience."

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Article Citation

Goldberg, S.H. (1990). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXIII, 1987. Psychoanal. Q., 59:334

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