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Blum, H.P. (2011). Introduction. Psychoanal. Rev., 98(5):597-612.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Review, 98(5):597-612


Harold P. Blum, M.D.

Contemporary psychoanalysis is a very diverse scene, with many tributaries from the mainstream of a bygone classical psychoanalysis. Numerous theories advance and some hold promise to advance psychoanalysis. Bewildering to psychoanalysts and to the intellectuals of other disciplines, the present state of theoretical competition, confusion, internal contradiction, and occasional intercine family feuds has likely contributed to the major decline in academic and public regard and respect for psychoanalysis. Psychopharmacology, brief psychotherapies, and more recently neuroscience have all challenged the former preeminent position of psychoanalysis. That all rational psychotherapy is based on psychoanalytic principles is hardly understood by authorities in psychiatry, psychology, and the social sciences, let alone by the medical profession and government officials.

The evolution of psychoanalytic thought has occurred without and despite any consensus about problems left unsolved, and issues in need of clarification and resolution. Questions, and the vicissitudes of questions, persist about the limits of psychoanalytic knowledge and what is unknown. Paradoxically, psychoanalysis is also in a state of innovative ferment, no longer so dependent on past authority, greatly liberated from fixation to its early formulations and from idealizing transference to past teachers and their teachings. Current psychoanalysis might be regarded as both theoretically destabilized and in eager pursuit of new insights.

In the increasingly complex domain of psychoanalysis, the controversial issues posed by Wallerstein (1991) and Rangell (2004, 2007) initiated varied investigations of psychoanalytic diversity.

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