History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past


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If you talk to your analyst about your mother, it is not simply your own mother but also a representation at an unconscious level of everything we understand by "mother". Jung called these universal forms "archetypes" and believed that we can never know them directly. He encouraged the study of myth, folklore, religion and dreaming to learn more about archetypes, and he saw therapy as involving an organic process of self-realisation he termed "individuation". Later analysts such as Jacques Lacan emphasised not only symbolic forms but their absence.

For them, it was the non-existence of archetypes that gave rise to human invention, creativity and neurosis.

Reading Group: Psychoanalysis and History

Since there was no archetype of birth or death, the child must invent solutions for him or herself. As psychoanalysis became part of popular culture, the analyst was often pictured as a kind of detective: the missing piece had to be found for the whole puzzle to become complete. Yet Freud recognised that things were hardly so simple.

Human beings tend to cling to their symptoms and suffering and are usually loth to give them up. There is a powerful pull to self-destruction, a kind of masochism and pleasure in pain that Freud called the "death drive. Melanie Klein believed that the unconscious was formed from a complex set of processes of introjection and projection, while Lacan thought that it was created through speech, the words that are imposed on us in our childhood.

The Psychoanalytic Corner: Notes on a Conversation with Peter Gay | SpringerLink

We act out scripts without knowing it, while at the same time a crucial area of our mental life is governed by an unrepresentable and unbearable domain that we only ever encounter fleetingly: in a nightmare, a panic attack or a hallucination. Where Kleinians tend to interpret the relationship between analyst and analysand systematically, Lacanians don't believe that they know more than the analysand. For Lacan, the analyst knows very little: he is more like a cross between a beggar and a clown, coaxing material from the analysand and interpreting rarely and in unexpected and often startling ways.

Klein became the most influential theorist in British psychoanalysis while Lacan's work has held sway worldwide.

Jungian analysis and the new relational psychoanalysis are also flourishing. Despite more than years of research into the unconscious, it is still an unpalatable idea to most people. The idea that we might not know what we are thinking and feeling is too big a blow to our narcissism. We like to believe that we are in control of our lives, and psychoanalytic ideas still arouse the greatest resistance.

Getting to know one's own unconscious is never easy. It will mean becoming less familiar with ourselves, and questioning the false rationalisations that we have lived by. It may deliver what Freud called "a gain of truth", yet this will be the result of a long and painstaking work. Analysis lasts a long time, and involves both the acquisition of a certain knowledge and a recognition of what cannot be known: we will be forced to give up any hope of complete understanding of ourselves and others.

Recognising uncertainty and incompleteness can allow us to live more authentically and creatively. We might start to follow our real interests rather than those we have adopted out of fear or to please others. We might also realise the futility of trying to control those around us, and give them the space we have deprived them of, allowing our relationships to develop and grow. But if analysis can help us along these paths, it almost never results in peace and harmony: rather a state of war and peace, perhaps less devastating and more tolerable than before.

He is a member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research cfar. For further information visit his website darianleader. People often refer to a "dark side" - their own, or someone else's - but Carl Jung had another name for the part of us we like to keep hidden from public view.

Psychoanalytic theory came to full prominence in the last third of the twentieth century as part of the flow of critical discourse regarding psychological treatments after the s, long after Freud's death in , [1] and its validity is now widely disputed or rejected. His study emphasized the recognition of childhood events that could influence the mental functioning of adults.

Freud, Jung, Luke Skywalker, and the Psychology of Myth: Crash Course World Mythology #40

His examination of the genetic and then the developmental aspects gave the psychoanalytic theory its characteristics. Psychoanalytic and psychoanalytical are used in English. The latter is the older term, and at first simply meant 'relating to the analysis of the human psyche'. But with the emergence of psychoanalysis as a distinct clinical practice, both terms came to describe that.


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Although both are still used, today, the normal adjective is psychoanalytic. A therapeutic method, originated by Sigmund Freud, for treating mental disorders by investigating the interaction of conscious and unconscious elements in the patient's mind and bringing repressed fears and conflicts into the conscious mind, using techniques such as dream interpretation and free association.

Psychoanalytic Feminism

Also: a system of psychological theory associated with this method. Through the scope of a psychoanalytic lens, humans are described as having sexual and aggressive drives. Psychoanalytic theorists believe that human behavior is deterministic. It is governed by irrational forces, and the unconscious, as well as instinctual and biological drives. Due to this deterministic nature, psychoanalytic theorists do not believe in free will.


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Freud first began his studies on psychoanalysis in collaboration with Dr. Josef Breuer , especially when it came to the study on Anna O. Today, Breuer can be considered the grandfather of psychoanalysis.

The research and ideas behind the study on Anna O. These observations led Freud to theorize that the problems faced by hysterical patients could be associated with painful childhood experiences that could not be recalled. The influence of these lost memories shaped the feelings, thoughts and behaviours of patients. These studies contributed to the development of the psychoanalytic theory.

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Sigmund Freud determined that the personality consists of three different elements, the id , the ego and the superego. The id is the aspect of personality that is driven by internal and basic drives and needs. These are typically instinctual, such as hunger, thirst, and the drive for sex, or libido. The id acts in accordance with the pleasure principle , in that it avoids pain and seeks pleasure.

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Due to the instinctual quality of the id, it is impulsive and often unaware of implications of actions. The ego is driven by the reality principle. The ego works to balance the id and superego, by trying to achieve the id's drive in the most realistic ways. It seeks to rationalize the id's instinct and please the drives that benefit the individual in the long term. It helps separate what is real, and realistic of our drives as well as being realistic about the standards that the superego sets for the individual.

The superego is driven by the morality principle. It acts in connection with the morality of higher thought and action. Instead of instinctively acting like the id, the superego works to act in socially acceptable ways. It employs morality, judging our sense of wrong and right and using guilt to encourage socially acceptable behavior.

The unconscious is the portion of the mind of which a person is not aware. The decline in analytic fortunes since the s, along with the general shift in the Zeitgeist, has opened a path for historical perspective. Now, its inversion seems true. These are the capabilities which allow women, the traditionally disadvantaged group […]. However, this book is not only a mining of […]. Commentary Jews in the culture wars Lynne segal What will it take to unite the intellectual Left? After decades of internal academic strife on the Left, the moral dilemmas currently faced by Jewish academics have thrown up some unexpected alliances.

The s and s were embattled decades in the universities, especially in North America. These […]. This is the danger that stalks feminism: the threat of banality — its impact fading with repetition, its complexities and nuances submerged by anxious attachments to sexual […].

History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past
History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past
History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past
History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past
History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past
History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past
History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past
History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past History and Psyche: Culture, Psychoanalysis, and the Past

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