The Crisis of Psychoanalysis p.37

Historically speaking, one can look at Freud’s theory as the fruitful synthesis of rationalism and romanticism; the creative power of this synthesis may be one of the reasons why Freud’s thinking became a dominating influence in the twentieth century. This influence was not due to the fact that Freud found a new therapy for neuroses, and probably also not primarily because of his role as a defender of repressed sexuality. There is a great deal to say in favor of the assumption that the most important reason for his general influence on culture is in this synthesis, whose fruitfulness can be clearly seen in the two most important defections from Freud, that of Adler and of Jung. Both exploded the Freudian synthesis and reverted to the two original oppositions. Adler, rooted in the short-lived optimism of the rising lower middle classes, constructed a one-sided rationalistic-optimistic theory. He believed that the innate disabilities are the very conditions of strength and that with intellectual understanding of a situation, man can liberate himself and make the tragedy of life disappear.

Jung, on the other hand, was a romantic who saw the sources of all human strength in the unconscious. He recognized the wealth and depth of symbols and myths much more profoundly than Freud, whose views were restricted by his sexual theory. Their aims, however, were contradictory. Freud wanted to understand the unconscious in order to weaken and control it; Jung, in order to gain an increased vitality from it. Their interest in the unconscious united the two men for some time without their being aware that they were moving in opposite directions. As they halted on their way in order to talk about the unconscious, they fell under the illusion that they were proceeding in the same direction.

 

Erich Fromm – The Crisis of Psychoanalysis p.37

Advertisements

The Crisis of Psychoanalysis p.4

It is not surprising that many people were attracted by the promise that there are faster and cheaper methods of “cure”. Psychoanalysis had opened up the possibility that one’s misery could be alleviated through professional help.With the change in style to greater “efficiency,” rapidity, and “group activity” and with the spread of the need for “therapy” for people whose income did not suffice for prolonged daily sessions, the new therapies necessarily became very attractive and drew away a good many potential patients form psychoanalysis.

Thus far I have only touched upon the more obvious and superficial reasons for the present crisis of psychoanalysis: the wrong use of psychoanalysis by a large number of practitioners and patients. To solve the crisis, at least on this level, would only require making a stricter selection of analysis and patients.

It is, however, necessary to ask: How could the misuse occur? I have tried to give some very limited answers to this question, but it can be answered fully only if we turn from superficial manifestations to the deeper crisis in which psychoanalysis finds itself.

What are the reasons for the deeper crisis?

I believe that the main reason lies in the change of psychoanalysis from a radical to a conformist theory. Psychoanalysis was originally a radical, penetrating, liberating theory. It slowly lost this character and stagnated, failing to develop its theory in response to the changed human salutation after the First World War; instead it retreated into conformism and the search for respectability.

 

Erich Fromm – The Crisis of Psychoanalysis p.4

The Crisis of Psychoanalysis p.5

The most creative and radical achievement of Freud’s theory was the founding of a “science of the irrational” – i.e., the theory of the unconscious. As Freud himself observed, this was a continuation of the work of Copernicus and Darwin (I would add also, of Marx): they had attacked the illusions of man about this planet’s place in the cosmos and his own place in nature and in society; Freud attacked the last fortress that had been left untouched – man’s consciousness as the ultimate datum of psychic experience. He showed that most of what we are conscious of is not real and that most of what is real is not in our consciousness. Philosophical idealism and traditional psychology were challenged head-on, and a further step was taken into the knowledge of what is “really real.” (Theoretical physics took another decisive step in this direction by attacking another certainty, that concerning the nature of matter.)

Freud did not simply state the existence of unconscious process in general (others had done that before him), but showed empirically how unconscious processes operate by demonstrating their operation in concrete and observable phenomena: neurotic symptoms, dreams, and the small acts of daily life.

The theory of the unconscious is one of the most decisive steps in our knowledge of man and in our capacity to distinguish appearance from reality in human behavior. As a consequence, it opened up a new dimension of honesty and thereby created a new basis for critical thinking.

 

Erich Fromm – The Crisis of Psychoanalysis p.5

Wisdom Won from Illness p.212

In dreams, we experience images without recognizing them as images and without understanding their deeper meanings. It is not quite correct to say that in dreams we think we are awake. Part of what it is to think that we are awake is to exercise the capacity to distinguish between waking and dream states, and it is this capacity that goes to sleep when we sleep. Thus dreams states do have a reality and power for us, not  because we think we are awake, but because the capacity to distinguish between waking and sleeping has temporarily shut down. So again there is disorientation: we lose the capacity to recognize our dream as a dream and thus to determine what it is about.

 

Jonathan Lear – Wisdom Won from Illness p.212

The Essential Loewald: Primary Process, Secondary Process, and Language p.182

At an earlier point (pg. 175-176) in “The Unconscious” Freud explains that having heard something and having experienced it are, as to their psychological nature, entirely different psychic acts. If the analyst informs the patient in words of the existence of an unconscious presentation (a thing-presentation) in the patient’s mind, the patient now will “have” the word-presentation corresponding to the thing-presentation. But the patient will not be able to make adequate use of the information unless the two become linked in his mind or by his mind, through a hyper-cathecting act that creates a new form of mental presentation. In less abstract language we would say that in the joining of words and corresponding experience the psychic life of the patient is intensified or deepened, has gained a new dimension. No longer do unconscious presentation and presentation of the corresponding words exist side by side. There is now a novel present experience or psychical act that as such henceforth can become part of the patient’s memorial repertoire.

 

Hans Loewald – The Essential Loewald: Primary Process, Secondary Process, and Language p.182

The Essential Loewald: On Motivation and Instinct Theory p.125

Triebe were, however, for Freud not just abstract constructs or concepts in a theory of motivation or personality, to be sorted out from other forces of motivation, to be classified and distinguished from affects, perceptual and cognitive processes, and somatic needs. Triebe, instincts, were – much more than scientists, doctors, ministers, judges (“the educated circles”) wanted to admit or know – what made the human world go around, what drove people to act and think and feel the way they do, in excess as well as in self-constriction, inhibition, and fear, in their daily lives in the family and with others, and in their civilized and professional occupations and preoccupations as well. They dominated their love life and influenced their behavior with children and authorities. They made people sick and made them mad. They drove people to perversion and crimes, made them into hypocrites and liars as well as into fanatics for truth and other virtues, or into prissy, bigoted, prejudiced, or anxious creatures. And their sexual needs, preoccupations, and inhibitions turned out to be at the root of much of all this. Rational, civilized, measured, “good” behavior, the noble and kind deeds and thoughts and feelings so highly valued were much of the time postures and gestures, self-denials, rationalizations, distortions, and hideouts – a thin surface mask covering and embellishing the true life and the real power of the instincts.

The life of the body, of bodily needs and habits and functions, kisses and excrements and intercourse, tastes and smells and sights, body noises and sensations, caresses and punishments, tics and gait and movements, facial expression, the penis and the vagina and the tongue and arms and hands and feet and legs and hair, pain and pleasure, physical excitement and lassitude, violence and bliss – all this is the body in the context of human life. The body is not primarily the organism with its organs and physiological functions, anatomical structures, nerve pathways, and chemical processes.

If Freud had not had all this in view, and the vagaries and foibles of people, his own and those of his patients, he would never have been able to write his case histories and to create a scientific psychoanalysis as distinct from both neurology and academic psychiatry and psychology. He would not have been able to understand dreams and jokes and neurosis and the psychopathology of everyday life. He created, partly in spite of his inclinations and not without grave misgivings, an entirely new method and standard of scientific investigation which went counter to scientific principles and methods derived from or devised for a different realm of reality – principles and methods that stultified an appropriate approach to and grasp of psychic life. He could do this because he was unwilling to accept the narrow limitations imposed on science by the science of his day, whose child he remained nevertheless. He broke out of those limits and widened the field of scientific action, while loath to accept the consequences of such a venture in all its implications. But had he not in such a way brought science and life as it is lived together again, psychoanalysis would never have had the impact on modern life and scientific thought that we see today.

Instincts and the life of the body, seen in the perspective sketched above, are one and the same. They become separate only when we begin to distinguish between soma and psyche. But once this is done – and without this distinction there is neither physiology–anatomy nor psychology – instinct in psychoanalysis must be understood as a psychological concept. I believe it means reintroducing the psyche into biology and physics if one speaks of Eros and Thanatos as universal cosmic tendencies. Whether this is legitimate or not remains, in my opinion, an open question; this psyche, however, would in any event not be psyche or mind in terms of human psychology. Within the framework of psychoanalysis as a science of the human mind we must, if we accept the Eros-Thanatos conception (or its less “metaphysical” form, the duality of libido and aggression), speak of instincts as psychic representatives, and of life and death instincts as such representatives.

 

Hans Loewald – The Essential Loewald: On Motivation and Instinct Theory p.125

The Essential Loewald: On Motivation and Instinct Theory p.110

We now seem to see that, on the contrary, psychoanalytic psychology postulates instinctual, unconscious, impersonal forces as the motives of our psychic life. Where is the person? Where is the ego or self that would be the source and mainstay of personal motivation?

The problem is not resolved by hypotheses about a primary autonomy of the ego, primary ego apparatuses, and the like (Hartmann, 1939). They make the psychoanalytic ego into a biological entity with a psychological superstructure and make use of an energy concept which is biological or physical. The energy postulated in such hypotheses, while called psychic energy, is nonpsychic, i.e., nonmotivational, and instinctual motivation becomes secondary where it counts most: in the understanding of the structuring of the personality by the organization and transformation of the instincts. Inborn apparatuses are nothing but a euphemism for neurophysiological and neuroanatomical substrates, they have no psychological status. Instinct (Trieb) does have psychological meaning and the term has its legitimate use in psychoanalysis only as a psychological concept, and not as a biological or ethological one. Nobody of course denies neurophysiological processes and neurological structures, or the maturation of such structures. But to speak of inborn ego apparatuses is speaking of a Hamlet who is not the Prince of Denmark. In psychoanalytic psychology the ego is a psychic structure that cannot be found anywhere in biology or neurology, just as an organism cannot be found anywhere in physics, or a superego in sociology. It makes sense to speak of the development of the id and the ego out of an undifferentiated phase, in which there is as yet no differentiation of id, ego, and environment, as long as the concept of the undifferentiated phase is not biologized and it is recognized that as psychoanalysts we cannot go back beyond that limit.

 

Hans Loewald – The Essential Loewald: On Motivation and Instinct Theory p.110