In Defence of Psychoanalysis

January 20, 2011

“….the unconscious, the back-seat driver whispering to us to behave in ways we’d officially disown”

This defence of psychoanalysis from Robert Rowland Smith is an impassioned plea for the value and relevance of psychoanalysis in everyday life.  He takes on the CBT cause and suggests that in becoming ‘more scientific’ it has become less ‘therapeutic’.   He also outlines very eloquently the bad press that psychoanalysis gets….

Yet for all its seepage into everyday life, psycho-analysis finds itself routinely denounced, even by those in its intellectual debt. Set aside the practical objections —becoming an analysand involves five sessions a week, at perhaps £70 per session, over many years—psychoanalysis, they say, reduces everything to sex. Worse, it does so in a form that looks misogynistic. As for its being a science, that’s laughable—believing that a fireside chat with a patient about their childhood can disclose the deep structure of the psyche is plain arrogant. Not to mention the potential for planting thoughts in the patient’s mind which happen to prove the theory you set out with.

If you have any interest in the irrationality of everyday life (take a look at the markets if you don’t believe me) then psychoanalysis has something to contribute….Rowland Smith will be continuing his defence of psychoanalysis a the School of Life’s Conversation Drinks at the Freud Museum in London on 21 February if you’d like to join the debate.

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