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Gonchar, J. (1995). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XV, 1992. The Contemporary Crises of Psychoanalysis. Robert R. Holt. Pp. 375-403.. Psychoanal Q., 64:204-205.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XV, 1992. The Contemporary Crises of Psychoanalysis. Robert R. Holt. Pp. 375-403.

(1995). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 64:204-205

Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XV, 1992. The Contemporary Crises of Psychoanalysis. Robert R. Holt. Pp. 375-403.

Joel Gonchar

The author sounds an alarm to alert analysts to the impending demise of their discipline and to the need to take action to prevent this from happening. Holt

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believes that psychoanalytic theory is seriously flawed, from its metapsychology to its clinical theory. He traces these inadequacies to the philosophical contradictions in Freud's theory building, which derive from Freud's assumption that the laws of science are the same in physics and in psychology. This has led to a theory that is metaphysically confused, internally inconsistent, and rife with logical errors and fallacies. For these reasons the theory is incapable of generating testable hypotheses. Holt calls for a concerted effort to restate clinical discoveries in clear language so that testable hypotheses can be generated. He goes on to document where problematic theory leads to less than helpful clinical views, but concedes that experienced clinicians learn to modify these views so that they can approach their patients in a more humane and sophisticated way. Other areas of crisis touched on by Holt are the education of candidates, and the organization of the American Psychoanalytic Association. He believes that intellectual curiosity is being discouraged in favor of conformity among candidates, and that the faculties of institutes are too insular, poorly versed in teaching methods, and closed to what is going on in other areas of graduate education. Holt offers some remedies to these problems. He would have all institutes affiliate with universities so that their faculties would be subject to prevailing academic standards. He would have some members of a psychoanalytic faculty teach full-time and not be entirely dependent on analytic practice for their living. Psychoanalytic research centers would focus on clinical theory by investigating process and outcome, and would require candidates to become involved in this research as well.

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Article Citation

Gonchar, J. (1995). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XV, 1992.. Psychoanal. Q., 64:204-205

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