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Bailey, P. (1935). An Introduction to Rankian Psychology. Psychoanal. Rev., 22(2):182-211.

(1935). Psychoanalytic Review, 22(2):182-211

An Introduction to Rankian Psychology

Pearce Bailey

In the following series of lectures I shall attempt to give a birds-eye view of the basic psychological conceptions of Dr. Otto Rank of Paris. That this at best can be only a general condensation of his principle viewpoints, goes without saying. For to do justice to one like Rank who has constructed a complete genetic psychology from birth until death; who has formulated an original doctrine of the individual and society as well as a general philosophy of the psychic; and who, as the result of clinical experience, has devised a dynamic therapy for the neuroses, would require volumes rather than a mere series of lectures.

Then, too, any brief condensation of an important set of ideas and practices is really just an intellectualized syllabus which only gives a particular slant upon the subject. It is bound to contain a certain element of interpretation on the part of the author, and its lack of completeness is liable to make it out of tune with the original version. To really get the “feel” of a thing one must consult the primary source.

But this does not mean that this summary may not have a definite value for both student and practitioner. A good syllabus always has a place in any intellectual group if properly applied. To students it will give a general idea of a constructive dynamic psychology applied to current individual and social problems plus a plan of attack for further investigation. It will open the door behind which the real treasures lie. To practitioners it should reveal old ideas in a somewhat different light and thereby stimulate further research, discussion and elucidation.

It would be impossible to present a discourse on Rankian psychology without explaining its relation to psychoanalysis. For Rankian psychology is not a static event which suddenly appeared like a bolt from the blue, but represents a certain progressive stage, yet by no means a final stage, in a developmental sequence.

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