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Akhtar, S. (2015). Guest Editorial: Psychoanalysis and Indian Ethos. Psychoanal. Rev., 102(6):791-792.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Review, 102(6):791-792

Guest Editorial: Psychoanalysis and Indian Ethos

Salman Akhtar, M.D.

Allow me to begin with a rather long quote from the inoptimally celebrated but truly outstanding British psychoanalyst John Klauber (1917-1981):

Analyst and patient are not only analyst and patient; they are also individuals with highly integrated, and to a large extent unmodifiable, systems of values, and the attitude of one to another expresses not only transference and countertransference but views which remain ego syntonic and firmly held on reflection. A theory of technique which ignores the immense influence on the psychoanalytic transaction of the value systems of patient and analyst alike ignores a basic psychic reality behind any psychoanalytic partnership. What has to be taken into account is what the Greeks might have called the ethos of patient and analyst—a word meaning originally an accustomed seat—in addition to the pathos of more labile reactions. (Klauber, 1968, p. 128, emphasis in the original)

It is to the ethos of the analyst and the patient that this Special Issue of the The Psychoanalytic Review is devoted. It seeks to demonstrate that while the metapsychological proposals of psychoanalysis (e.g., the system Ucs, pleasure principle, ego defenses, principle of multiple function) are universally applicable, the developmental, psychopathological, and therapeutic contributions of psychoanalysis are open to cultural relativism. The ecology, climate, population density, landscape, religion, politics, and history of where patients and analysts grow up and function as adults affect their ethos and, in turn, the expression and management of their pathos. Freud's and Klein's Germanic roots imparted to their theory and practice an austere character which differed from the warmer and more open-hearted theory and practice of Ferenczi and Balint who were of Hungarian origin.

This special volume transports such concerns outside of the Western world, however.

[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.]

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