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Medium 9781892746733

The Integration of Psychoanalytic and Neuroscientific Thought in the Realm of Personality

Peter Fonagy Karnac Books ePub


Unlike many psychoanalysts in the United States, Arnold Cooper has maintained his involvement with psychiatry throughout his career. For many years he directed the educational programs in the Cornell University Medical School Department of Psychiatry. He has always maintained that there are bridges between the neurosciences and psychoanalysis that could mutually enhance the two fields. In 1985 he published a much-cited paper, “Will Neurobiology Influence Psychoanalysis?” In his role as North American editor for the International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, he played a key role in developing a regular feature that would explore that interface.

In this chapter I would like to explore the potential for an integrated view of personality that takes into account data from both neuroscience research and psychoanalytic observation. Another area of Arnold Cooper’s interest lies in character pathology, where he has made major contributions to our understanding of narcissistic and masochistic personality disorders (Cooper, 1982a; 1984a; 1985c; 1986a; 1988a; 1993; Groopman & Cooper, 1995). Hence this particular bridging effort encompasses two of Arnold Cooper’s lifelong interests.

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Medium 9780946439744

2. The psychoanalytic life history

Joseph Sandler Karnac Books ePub

Roy Schafer

In his wartime poem of 1940, ‘In memory of Sigmund Freud (d. Sept. 1939)’, the late W. H. Auden told how Freud was ‘taken away’

To go back to the earth in London,
An important Jew who died in exile.

The poet hastened to add this cry of outrage:

Only Hate was happy, hoping to augment
His practice now, and his dingy clientele

Who think they can be cured by killing
And covering the gardens with ashes.

Against the figure of Hate, Auden was holding up the image of Freud’s psychoanalysis. It was an image of love and enlightenment in a world overrun with ugliness: of forgiveness, restoration and reunion; of enthusiasm, delight and dedication; and of the preciousness of the honestly remembered and individualized life. Perhaps lacking the stern, uncompromising element, but still very true to its subject.

What, then, could be more appropriate than establishing the Freud Memorial Professorship here in London? London is appropriate, too, for its having long been the home and centre of creative work of Freud’s distinguished daughter, Miss Anna Freud, and of so many other notable and dedicated psychoanalysts. And that this Inaugural is taking place at University College London adds all the more to the appropriateness of the occasion, for this College already proudly claims among its many humane and enlightened firsts its taking into its student body Jews, women and other victims of prejudice—the socially repressed who are the counterparts and often the symbols of the individually repressed. I can imagine no honour greater for a psychoanalyst, and none more moving, than to be chosen to inaugurate this Memorial Professorship.

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Medium 9781855752290

5: The relevance of empirical infant research to psychoanalytic theory and practice

Rosemary Davies Karnac Books ePub

Daniel N. Stern

This presentation consists of two sections. First, I discuss some of the major epistemological differences that bear on whether one thinks that infant observation is relevant to psychoanalysis. I will address my comments largely to André Green, whose position I have some familiarity with from our several meetings and his various publications and public interviews on this subject.

Second, I describe some of the specific differences in approach between infant observation and psychoanalysis. This will include a discussion of how an observer of infants might view some issues that are central to psychoanalysis, but quite differently. My intention in so doing is to push forward the dialogue about relevance and possible complementarity.

Epistemological differences between the psychoanalytic and infant observational approaches

To begin, we need to examine what is meant by “relevance”. That is the key word.

First, is empirical infant observation directly relevant to psychoanalysis? I agree with André Green that infant observations can never prove or disprove a clinical or theoretical tenet of psychoanalysis. Their epistemological differences do not permit a defining encounter. Scientific “truth” and psychoanalytic coherence, concerning meta-theory or clinical reconstruction, cannot directly challenge one another. Only if, or when, psychoanalysis proposes a specific or general predictive hypothesis can science, as a method of hypothesis testing, become directly relevant in the sense of confirming or disconfirming the prediction. Psychoanalysis, in the main, does not engage in this kind of prediction, nor does it have to. In fact, such predictions and hypotheses are thought by most psychoanalysts to be outside the psychoanalytic discourse. This is both an advantage and disadvantage.

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Medium 9781855751668

4. Panel discussion

Peter Fonagy Karnac Books ePub

Alan Baddeley, Peter Fonagy Brendan MacCarthy, John Morton, Hanna Segal, Valerie Sinason, Lawrence Weiskrantz

It is perhaps useful to remind ourselves of some of the ideas that have been put forward here, and as the Chair I would also like to take the opportunity to summarize some thoughts that have been stimulated in me.

We have spoken about scientific reasoning and scientific thought, and have been reminded by Lawrence Weiskrantz of the grave danger of a retrospective search for the truth. The expectations that we have are compelling in the sense that they affect our findings, and the pressure for confirmation is always present among us. In some ways, this bias is as true in scientific research as it is in therapeutic research, and it represents a temptation that we have consistently to resist.

Perhaps there are different types of truths, as John Morton suggested. Perhaps we have to think of a scientific truth, a personal truth, a legal truth, and the criteria for these are certainly different. I am not too sure, however, that we can then conclude that the truths are different because the criteria we use are different. Perhaps the statements that we make about the various sorts of truths are different, and perhaps we have not yet given serious consideration to what we mean by the truth. I hope to touch on this a little later.

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Medium 9781855757592

Part One: Analysis Terminable and Interminable (1937)

Joseph Sandler Karnac Books ePub


Analysis Terminable and Interminable (1937)




EXPERIENCE has taught us that psycho-analytic therapy—the freeing of someone from his neurotic symptoms, inhibitions and abnormalities of character—is a time-consuming business. Hence, from the very first, attempts have been made to shorten the duration of analyses. Such endeavours required no justification; they could claim to be based on the strongest considerations of reason and expediency. But there was probably still at work in them as well some trace of the impatient contempt with which the medical science of an earlier day regarded the neuroses as being uncalled-for consequences of invisible injuries. If it had now become necessary to attend to them, they should at least be disposed of as quickly as possible.

A particularly energetic attempt in this direction was made by Otto Rank, following upon his book, The Trauma of Birth (1924). He supposed that the true source of neurosis was the act of birth, since this involves the possibility of a child's ‘primal fixation’ to his mother not being surmounted but persisting as a ‘primal repression’. Rank hoped that if this primal trauma were dealt with by a subsequent analysis the whole neurosis would be got rid of. Thus this one small piece of analytic work would save the necessity for all the rest. And a few months should be enough to accomplish this. It cannot be disputed that Rank's argument was bold and ingenious; but it did not stand the test of critical examination. Moreover, it was a child of its time, conceived under the stress of the contrast between the postwar misery of Europe and the ‘prosperity’1 of America, and designed to adapt the tempo of analytic therapy to the haste of American life. We have not heard much about what the implementation of Rank's plan has done for cases of sickness. Probably not more than if the fire-brigade, called to deal with a house that had been set on fire by an overturned oil-lamp, contented themselves with removing the lamp from the room in which the blaze had started. No doubt a considerable shortening of the brigade's activities would be effected by this means. The theory and practice of Rank's experiment are now things of the past—no less than American ‘prosperity’ itself.1

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