1st Edition

Psychosis, Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry in Postwar USA On the borderland of madness

By Orna Ophir Copyright 2015
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    208 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Covering the last four decades of the 20th century, this book explores the unwritten history of the struggles between psychoanalysis and psychiatry in postwar USA, inaugurated by the neosomatic revolution, which had profound consequences for the treatment of psychotic patients. Analyzing and synthesizing major developments in this critical and clinical field, Orna Ophir discusses how leading theories redefined what schizophrenia is and how to treat it, offering a fresh interpretation of the nature and challenges of the psychoanalytic profession. The book also considers the internal dynamics and conflicts within mental health organizations, their theoretical paradigms and therapeutic practices.

    Opening a timely debate, considering both the continuing relevance and the inherent limitations of the psychoanalytic approach, the book demonstrates how psychoanalysts reinterpreted their professional identity by formalizing and disseminating knowledge among their fellow practitioners, while negotiating with neighboring professions in the medical fields, such as psychiatry, pharmacology and the burgeoning neurosciences. Chapters explore the ways in which psychoanalysts constructed – and also transgressed upon – the boundaries of their professional identity and practice as they sought to understand schizophrenia and treat its patients. The book argues that among the many relationships psychoanalysis sustained with psychiatry, some weakened their own social role as service providers, while others made the theory and practice of psychoanalysis a viable contender in the jurisdictional struggles between professions.

    Psychosis, Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry in Postwar USA will appeal to researchers, academics, graduate students and advanced undergraduates who are interested in the history of psychoanalysis, psychiatry, the medical humanities and the history of science and ideas. It will also be of interest to clinicians, health care professionals and other practitioners.

    Introduction  1. Freud’s Dual View of Schizophrenia (1894–1940)  2. Ravens in White Coats: The medicalization of American psychoanalysis (1909–1954)  3. Psychoanalysis, Psychopharmacology, and Community Psychiatry (1954–1970)  4. The "Dopamine Hypothesis" and Evidence of Genetic Factors in Schizophrenia (1971–1980)  5. The Emperor’s New Clothes: DSM-III and the abandonment of psychodynamics in favor of the biomedical model (1980–1990)  6. The Last Battle of Psychoanalysis? The Decade of the Brain  (1990–2000)  7. The Many Faces of Schreber as the Face of American Psychoanalysis (1954-2000)  8. Epilogue


    Orna Ophir is Adjunct Associate Professor in the Humanities at the School of Arts and Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA, and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Doctoral Studies Program in Clinical Psychology at Long Island University, New York, USA. She is a licensed clinical psychologist in Tel Aviv, Israel, and a licensed psychoanalyst in New York, USA.

    "I consider this an admirable book for its scholarship and the description of the progressive somatization of psychiatry." -Marco Bacciagaluppi, American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry, American Journal of Psychoanalysis

    "In Psychosis, Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry in Postwar USA: On the Borderland of Madness, Orna Ophir's reconsideration of what psychoanalytically informed treatment methods can offer persons suffering from severe and persistent mental illnesses is timely... Ophir, an Israel clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst... writes from a place of sustained commitment to understanding and helping people with psychosis, which infuses and enlivens her writing...  [Her] method in this book is that of historical and textual analysis... [Her] vision seems to have been to encrouage readers to reconsider historical developments. In this, she succeeds admirably... [The] ideas and questions Ophir asks us to think about... advance our collective capacity... Ophir's is a worth contribution. It will reward professional readers involved in treating persons with severe and persistent mental illnesses, and perhaps persuade other clinicans that such work is not only possible and, if rife with challenges, also important and deeply gratifying." -Richard Ruth and Kasia Garland, George Washington University, PsycCRITIQUES