The Future of Psychoanalysis by Chessick Richard D.

By Chessick Richard D.

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THE DATA OF PSYCHOANALYSIS There is a dangerous fallacy in the extreme intersubjective as well as those hermeneutic viewpoints that assume the centrality of continual cocreation of the data of psychoanalysis. The notion of “cocreation” shifts our attention away from the patient’s ownership of unconscious conflict and archaic fantasy, and moves our focus away from pathogenesis and toward iatrogenesis. Patients enter analysis with character pathology that has developed as a set of compromise formations and defenses against the drives and experiences that produced early infantile conflicts and archaic fantasies.

Lacan’s version of Freud swept like a tidal wave over What is Psychoanalysis? 21 France a few years ago. In the immediate post-World War II United States, Hartmann’s (1958) ego psychology was the fashion. In our current cultural milieu, one of affluence, global capitalism, and extravagant consumerism, a hedonistic and pleasure-oriented culture that emphasizes fast-fast-fast relief and the relativity of all moral and ethical principles, a plurality of theories and schools and various forms of intersubjectivity have come to be the fashionable basis of psychoanalytic theory formation.

I continue to consider Freud’s durable theories to be the best empirical hypotheses available for this purpose and, therefore, consider them like any empirical hypotheses to be subject to continuing clinical testing and logical evaluation. The formulation of new explanatory hypotheses in the form of alternative theories is an essential part of this endeavor to improve and develop psychoanalysis. It is the preference for the easy, exhilarating transformation of new and old theories into charismatic ideologies that causes a failure or refusal to engage in this difficult, painstaking work.

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