Saturday, December 01, 2007
Cohen, Patricia. "Freud Is Widely Taught at Universities, Except in the Psychology Department." NEW YORK TIMES November 25, 2007.
PSYCHOANALYSIS and its ideas about the unconscious mind have spread to every nook and cranny of the culture from Salinger to South Park, from Fellini to foreign policy. Yet if you want to learn about psychoanalysis at the nation’s top universities, one of the last places to look may be the psychology department. A new report by the American Psychoanalytic Association has found that while psychoanalysis — or what purports to be psychoanalysis — is alive and well in literature, film, history and just about every other subject in the humanities, psychology departments and textbooks treat it as “desiccated and dead,” a historical artifact instead of “an ongoing movement and a living, evolving process.” . . . The primary reason it became marginalized . . . is that while most disciplines in psychology began putting greater emphasis on testing the validity of their approaches scientifically, “psychoanalysts haven’t developed the same evidence-based grounding.” As a result, most psychology departments don’t pay as much attention to psychoanalysis. At the same time, wondrous advances, in neuroscience, for instance, have attracted new students and resources, further squeezing out psychoanalysis. Outside the university setting, the refusal of most insurance firms to pay for extended psychoanalytic therapy has limited its reach. . . . But Mark Edmundson, a professor of English at the University of Virginia and the author of “The Death of Sigmund Freud,” said, “Freud to me is a writer comparable to Montaigne and Samuel Johnson and Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, writers who take on the really big questions of love, justice, good government and death.” Scholars in the humanities, he said, use Freud “skeptically and provisionally and don’t think of him as scientist at all, but as an interpreter.” . . . For the full article, go here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/25/weekinreview/25cohen.html?_r=1&oref=slogin.