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Weiss, J. (1996). The Second Century of Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Psychol., 13(2):251-258.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 13(2):251-258

The Second Century of Psychoanalysis

Joseph Weiss, M.D.

The topic here is the second 100 years of psychoanalysis. This topic is certainly not modest. It requires us to attempt to predict the future from our knowledge of the past and present.

Obviously we cannot expect to see 100 years ahead. We cannot even expect to see 10 years ahead. Moreover, our ideas about where we are going inevitably are highly subjective. They reflect our particular vantage point, which is shaped by our particular assessment of what is useful and progressive in the present and recent past.

My attempts at prognostication are unabashedly subjective and will no doubt reflect my wishes as well as my expectations. I make my predictions from my own vantage point, which has been shaped by a particular psychoanalytic theory and the research based upon this theory (Weiss, 1993a, 1993b; Weiss, Sampson, & The Mount Zion Psychotherpay Research Group, 1986). So before attempting to look into the future, I briefly present this theory and one relevant research investigation. This theory is distinctive in its ideas about unconscious mental life, psychopathology, and therapy.

Unconscious Mental Life

The theory, developed by my collaborators and me, assumes that a person unconsciously performs many of the same kinds of functions that he performs consciously. He thinks, assesses reality, and develops beliefs about it. He makes decisions, carries out plans, and regulates his unconscious mental life in accordance with his decisions and plans.

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