THE name Sigmund Freud is inextricable from psychoanalysis. And vice versa. But why? And how did the two wind up in the same cultural basket as Copernicus and Darwin?The book costs $95. I will pass. If the field had any integrity, Freud would have been disavowed as a kook a century ago.
In The Freud Files, Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen and Sonu Shamdasani have a tangled tale to tell but their mission is clear: "We should hurry to study psychoanalysis whilst we can," they write, "for we will soon no longer be able to discern its features - and for good reason: because it never was." The pair argue that without the Freud legend the "identity and radical difference [of psychoanalysis] from other forms of psychotherapy collapse".
Attempts to debunk the legend in the 1970s and 80s failed. But a current assault, helped by a wealth of "declassified" material, correspondence and critical studies, looks more likely to dismantle the monomyth. The Freud Archives, a collection of letters and papers, were deposited at the US Library of Congress by Freud's daughter, Anna, to put them out of reach of unofficial biographers. This move also locked away Freud's patients' versions of their own problems.
But now, as primary material is made public, parts of the archive are declassified and his letters re-edited without censorship, the legend is "fraying from all sides".
Monday, December 26, 2011
Why psychoanalysis never existed