Description: If you have taken an introductory psychology course what were your take-aways from it regarding Sigmund Freud and his theories? What pops to mind? Old? Dated? Sexist or even misogynistic? And what about the nature and efficacy of psychoanalysis? Same descriptors? Given the nature of these typical take-aways would it surprise you to hear that the number of people training to be and now working as analysists offering psychoanalytic therapy (3 to 5 sessions a week for 2 to 5 years at up to $400 an hour) is on the increase? Why might this be? Think about why this might be the case ‘these days’ and then read the article linked below that dives into this very question and tries to understand just what Freudian analysis might be offering today, and to whom.
Source: Not Your Daddy’s Freud, Joseph Bernstein, The New York Times.
Date: March 22, 2023
Image by Welcome to All ! ツ from Pixabay
Article Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/22/style/freud-psychoanalysis.html
So, what did you make of the article? I was rather taken with the idea that in such complicated times as we are living in now the support offered by cognitive behavior therapy with its symptom-focused, get in and get out quickly with a symptomatic fix might seem a bit thin to some people. Even without buying into Freud’s particular description of the role of the deep unconscious in human psychology, the idea of starting self-reflection with the notion that there may well be more here than meets the eye (beneath our bad habits and anxieties) is a rather appealing marketing point for analysis. Maybe we need something like this sort of way to dive deeper into our life’s story and meaning and perhaps this renewed interest in Freudian analysis is just one possible way to dig into it a bit. What else if not this? Well, have a look at some of the recent work and approaches to identity development which is paying a lot of rich and detailed attention not just to how people think about their identity but also to the range of personal, family, cultural and historical factors that are involved in the process and in the autobiographical stories people develop and tell as they work on their identities over time (sounds rather analytic to me).
Questions for Discussion:
- What is your general understanding of or perspective on Freud and his psychoanalytic theory (and psychoanalysis)?
- What are some possible reasons for the recent jump in interest in Freudian analytic training and in psychoanaysis?
- What might this jump in interest in psychoanalysis be suggesting about what is is like to be trying to live well and meaningfully in the western world these days?
References (Read Further):
American Psychological Association, Divisions 12, Psychological Treatments. Link
Crews, Frederick C. (2017) Freud: What’s Left? Link
Moncrieff, J., Cooper, R. E., Stockmann, T., Amendola, S., Hengartner, M. P., & Horowitz, M. A. (2022). The serotonin theory of depression: a systematic umbrella review of the evidence. Molecular psychiatry, 1-14. Link
Bachrach, H. M., Galatzer-Levy, R., Skolnikoff, A., & Waldron Jr, S. (1991). On the efficacy of psychoanalysis. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 39(4), 871-916. Link
Yakeley, J. (2018). Psychoanalysis in modern mental health practice. The Lancet Psychiatry, 5(5), 443-450. Link
Crocetti, E., Fermani, A., Pojaghi, B., & Meeus, W. (2011, February). Identity formation in adolescents from Italian, mixed, and migrant families. In Child & Youth Care Forum (Vol. 40, pp. 7-23). Springer US. Link
Keijsers, L., Branje, S. J., VanderValk, I. E., & Meeus, W. (2010). Reciprocal effects between parental solicitation, parental control, adolescent disclosure, and adolescent delinquency. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 20(1), 88-113. Link