Understanding Dissidence & Controversy in the History of Psychoanalysis


Publisher: Other Press

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How can we understand the vehemence of psychoanalytic controversies and can this understanding change the tolerance of psychoanalysis for differences?

“Martin Bergmann keynotes this volume with a wise, scholarly, and balanced appraisal of the context of dissent during the past Freudian Century. Then a stellar international cast of psychoanalytic practitioners and theorists expand on and disagree with Bergmann in a lively and arresting dialogue that records the ongoing dialectic of history. This book is a ‘must read’ for anyone interested in the history of ideas and how they have evolved in the clinical and intellectual marketplace of psychoanalysis.”
—Theodore Shapiro M.D.

(645 pp.)


“This book is a remarkable demonstration of how the complexity of the psyche allows for great theoretical diversity while at the same time not holding that ‘anything goes.’ It is an important landmark on the road to defining the scientific status of psychoanalysis.”
—Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel, former Freud Memorial Chair
University College London

“[This book is] one of the most stimulating and serious attempts ever made to discuss and clarify such vital issues in the field of psychoanalysis, thanks to the expertise of the contributors, the high quality and variety of their papers, and the richness of the discussions between the participants that followed each paper, in what originally was a conference sponsored by The Psychoanalytic Research Fund, Inc., held in New York in February 2003. This book is an absolute must, not only for every practitioner, psychoanalyst, or psychotherapist, but also for historians of ideas, philosophers, and sociologists interested in the complex vicissitudes of psychoanalysis and its possible links to similar issues in cultural and sociopolitical context.”
—Ricardo Steiner, psychoanalyst London

“Martin S. Bergmann’s masterly introductory essay and the responding contributions of a group of analysts, among them the leading theoretical minds of our field, provide the basis for an exciting symposium of highly actual relevance. The concept of ‘dissidence’ acts as a prism. The resulting refractions reveal utterly novel and profound views on the classical past of psychoanalysis, its ecumenical or fragmented present, and its uncertain future. In freely discussing the criteria, which from today’s perspective would be used to decide on what is or is not analytical, the participants wrestle with the delineation of what constitutes the ore of the science founded by Sigmund Freud. This is psychoanalysis at its best.”
—Ilse Gubrich-Simitis, Training Analyst, German Psychoanalytical Association

“In this important book, Martin Bergmann reviews the history of psychoanalytic dissent and of the dissenters—their lives, careers, ideas, theri reception by the analytic world, and their impact on the dialogue therein. Together with a distinguished panel of contemporary psychoanalysts, he helps us to understand the importance of dissent, the central role it has played in the development of our field, and the increasing importance it is likely to have as our dialogue continues to mature.”
—Robert Michels M.D., Training and Supervising Analyst, Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, Columbia University

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