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Lustman, S.L. (1970). Cultural Deprivation—A Clinical Dimension of Education. Psychoanal. St. Child, 25:483-502.

(1970). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 25:483-502

Applications of Psychoanalysis

Cultural Deprivation—A Clinical Dimension of Education

Seymour L. Lustman, M.D.

If our primary, and presumably most treasured, asset is our children, no one seriously concerned with the future can deny the pivotal role of education. Any multidisciplinary group charged with planning for generations to come, however divergent their initial focus, must inevitably converge on our schools. This is not only "where the children are," but is an enterprise which commands the nation's largest professionally trained group of workers. If we would but permit our economic and technological power to be brought to bear, the ethical imperative for appropriate facilities and settings could be fulfilled easily. As a system, education remains the ideal hub for a network of consultative talent extending to all areas of life. In point of fact, a sound basis for such a substantive network already has been laid. Accordingly, the educational mission—viewed either as a limited or as an extended area—is crucial and urgent by any set of priorities.

Nevertheless, schools are embattled and in disarray; educators are an unappreciated, beleaguered, and underpaid profession; work fatigue, insecurity, frustration, and consequent job change remain inordinately high; and the magnitude and complexity of the tasks at hand are increasing at a disconcerting pace. Criticism of schools, teachers, and teaching has not always been constructive in tone or intent, nor helpful by design. This is increasingly true of the present. It characterized the decade past as the school preempted the center of our political turbulence.

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