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Peskin, H. (1996). The Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California: A Graduation. Psychoanal. Psychol., 13(2):247-250.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 13(2):247-250

The Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California: A Graduation

Harvey Peskin, Ph.D.

It is not quite becoming for an Institute to feel at all, but that's how it is—the sweet feeling of giving its graduates away, as if graduation is a wedding and our new analysts, this year and last, new brides—yes, even Charles and Ralph, and Sam the new father, too.

The image of the bride—don't you think?—quite becomes the bloom on my second-half-of-life masculinity. But not only mine. Psychoanalysis, in a sense also in the second half of its life, has become a profusion of new blooms—as well, necessarily, as a blooming confusion. Much in early psychoanalysis, understandably spooked by fears for its survival, avoided disorderly thoughts as if they were thought disorders, turning good-enough half-truths (to mix Erikson with a dash of Winnicott) into inflated whole truths. Meanwhile, the “not-me” other half of the truth supplied a planetary system of disaffected institutes in ever far-out orbits from the center; in America, this other half supplied the lay institutes trying to exist in the monopolistic shadow of medical control. What started with psychoanalysis circling the wagons in a world hostile to innovation, kept turning on itself to become, too often, politically correctional institutions wherein isolation was too easily mistaken for survival.

This quick reprise of psychoanalytic politics, I hope, is not reprisal, but a reminder of the pre-analytic truth that pride goeth before the Fall.

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