Thursday, November 28, 2013

Peter Fonagy - Psychoanalysis Today

Conclusion to the 2003 article by Peter Fonagy:

"Our aim should be to assist the movement of psychoanalysis toward science. In order to ensure a future for psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapies within psychiatry, psychoanalytic practitioners must change their attitude in the direction of a more systematic outlook. This attitude shift would be characterized by several components: a) The evidence base of psychoanalysis should be strengthened by adopting additional data-gathering methods that are now widely available in biological and social science. New evidence may assist psychoanalysts in resolving theoretical differences, a feat which the current database of predominantly anecdotal clinical accounts have not been capable of achieving. b) The logic of psychoanalytic discourse would need to change from its overdependence on rhetoric and global constructs to using specific constructs that allow for cumulative data-gathering. c) Flaws in psychoanalytic scientific reasoning, such as failures to consider alternative accounts for observations (beyond that favored by the author), should be overcome and in particular, the issue of genetic and social influence should be approached with increased sophistication. d) The isolation of psychoanalysis should be replaced by active collaboration with other mental health disciplines. Instead of fearing that fields adjacent to psychoanalysis might destroy the unique insights offered by clinical work, we need to embrace the rapidly evolving 'knowledge chain' focused at different levels of the study of brain-behavior relationship, which, as Kandel (,) points out, may be the only route to the preservation of the hard won insights of psychoanalysis."

Peter Fonagy (2003) Psychoanalysis Today, World Psychiatry, Vol. 2(2), pp. 73–80.
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