Wednesday, November 21, 2012

psychoanalysis is dead- ministry of souls

“I don't know whether you have guessed the hidden link between 'Lay Analysis' and Illusion'. In the former I want to protect analysis from physicians, and in the latter from priests. I want to entrust it to a profession that doesn't yet exist, a profession of secular ministers of souls, who don't have to be physicians and must not be priests."

S. Freud (1928) in his letter to O. Pfister

I remember seeing this statement of Freud's, or something similar that captured the beauty of psychoanalysis, maybe 10 years ago. Shortly after I went to the public library and saw Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious displayed cover first in the psychology section and I took it out. I was very excited to read it. I didn't like it- save for the witticism 'famillionaire' which I thought was pretty good and stole for myself. I saw nothing of the secular ministry of souls in it. It took me 5 years before I came back to psychoanalysis and it wasn't through Freud but through Wilhelm Reich and Lacan.

Obviously Freud's hope was never realized. The physicians after him turned psychoanalysis into a dogma, and those not beholden to a religious outlook went on to worship the soul of culture or 'discourse' without any interest in the individual.

Now that psychoanalysis is dead the hope is reborn that a Newton of depth psychology might arise to synthesize the work of all the schools in both theory and praxis. My worry is that the rare people who can pave the way for such a person either want to be Newton themselves or can't endure the isolation of studying something dead (or only care for it to the extent that they can use it to be clever).


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