Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To refine search by publication year…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Having problems finding an article? Writing the year of its publication in Search for Words or Phrases in Context will help narrow your search.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Richards, A. (2015). Psychoanalysis in Crisis: The Danger of Ideology. Psychoanal. Rev., 102(3):389-405.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Review, 102(3):389-405

Psychoanalysis in Crisis: The Danger of Ideology

Arnold Richards, M.D.

Psychoanalysis is in crisis. Its prestige with the public has plummeted, as well as its economic viability and even its population. There are fewer analytic candidates and fewer patients, less insurance coverage, less presence in departments of psychiatry, and less prestige among the traditional academic disciplines. Analysts are getting older, and there are fewer and fewer young ones to replace us. A once-fascinated public now distrusts analysts as unscientific, deluded, authoritarian, reactionary, arrogant, sexist, and/or passé. This paper examines some causes of this decline within psychoanalysis itself as well as possibilities for reform. The status of psychoanalysis as a science is in question, although Freud considered it as an empirical science, and modified his theories to fit new facts. In reality, however, transmission of psychoanalytic knowledge in the training analyst system has led to its perpetuation as an ideology, rather than a science, and to the formation of oligarchies in the structure of psychoanalytic organizations and some institutes. Psychoanalysis is nothing if not an exploratory endeavor, and it thrives in an open environment. Psychoanalytic theory becomes ideology when exploration, testing, and challenge are suppressed. There are many analysts for whom psychoanalysis is neither ideology or theology, but an intellectually stimulating and emotionally rewarding human and humane endeavor, where convention is enlivened by creative challenge, and innovation is disciplined by tradition. In that form, it is too valuable to lose. It is time for us to step back and reclaim our citizenship in the larger intellectual world of curiosity, creativity, and freedom.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.