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Schachter, J. Kächele, H. (2012). Arbitrariness, Psychoanalytic Identity and Psychoanalytic Research. Rom. J. Psychoanal., 5(2):137-161.

(2012). Romanian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 5(2):137-161

Aspects institutionnels de la psychanalyse / Institutional Aspects of Psychoanalysis

Arbitrariness, Psychoanalytic Identity and Psychoanalytic Research

Joseph Schachter and Horst Kächele

From the outset, psychoanalysis extensively utilized arbitrary convictions which subsequently generated and perpetuated an intolerance of criticism and dissent. Defensiveness about the arbitrariness and the need to protect the professional psychoanalytic identity engendered fear of, disinterest in, and criticism of analytic research whose findings might threaten unsubstantiated arbitrary convictions. For these, and other complex reasons, American psychoanalysis has generated limited formal, empirical analytic research. Recently, psychoanalysis has declined in status and prestige, due, at least in part, to societal changes. The persistent arbitrariness and the dearth of research have prevented effective responses to the external forces responsible for the decline. The most effective way to respond to the continuing decline is to develop a broad research program focused on providing empirical bases for the fundamentals of psychoanalysis. You cannot graft research onto the current psychoanalytic clinical identity; it cannot flourish. Therefore, all psychoanalytic education should be modified by having all teaching conducted jointly by researchers and clinicians if the necessary research cadre is to be developed.

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