What Do Psychoanalysts Want?: The Problem of Aims in Psychoanalytic Therapy, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

What Do Psychoanalysts Want?

The Problem of Aims in Psychoanalytic Therapy, 1st Edition

By Anna Ursula Dreher, Joseph Sandler


160 pages

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Defining the aims of psychoanalysis was not initially a serious complex problem. However, when Freud began to think of the aim as being one of scientific research, and added the different formulations of aim (for example, that the aim was to make the patient's unconscious conscious) it became an area of tension which affected the subsequent development of psychoanalysis and the resolution of which has profound implications for the future of psychoanalysis.

In What Do Psychoanalysts Want? the authors look at the way psychoanalysts have defined analysis both here and in America, from Freud down to the present day. From this basis they set out a theory about aims which is extremely relevant to clinical practice today, discussing the issues from the point of view of the conscious and unconscious processes in the psychoanalyst's mind.

Besides presenting a concise history of psychoanalysis, its conflicts and developments, which will be of interest to a wide audience of those interested in analysis, this book makes important points for the clinician interested in researching his or her practice.


"The material has clearly been distilled from a wealth of information and research to provide a work that is both rich, yet digestible - a tribute to the authors' impressive depth of knowledge, breadth of experience and flair for economy." - British Journal of Psychotherapy""

"This book presents an interesting, useful and detailed account of the changing aims that psychoanalysts have pursued in their work both in theory and practice." - International Journal of Psycho-Analysis

"I found the book well-written and thorough, and it could be read by anyone with an interest in this topic." - Self and Society, Vol. 25, No. 2, May 1997

"For the experienced practitioner I recommend this book as a valuable reference guide to the evolution of trends in psychoanalysis as well as offering a good working model for those who are interested in researching the commonalities of purpose between different schools of thought within psychoanalysis. The book stimulates the reader to think about the connections between one's daily clinical work and phenomena encountered and one's theoretical models. It encourages one to think about the connections between the discoveries one makes in one's clinical practice and the multitude of intermediate aims that appear during the course of an analysis and one's metapsychology." - Ricardo Steiner, Journal of the British Association of Psychotherapists

Table of Contents

Cooper, Foreword. Preface. Introduction. Freud's Views on Aims. The Early Freudians in the 1920s. Consolidation in the Pre-war Decade. The Emigration of Analysts and a Period of Transition. The 1950s and the Widening Scope Discussions. Heightening Tensions. The 1970s and the Flowering of Pluralism. Pragmatism and Integration in Contemporary Psychoanalysis. A Framework for Thinking about Aims. References. Name Index. Subject Index.

About the Series

The New Library of Psychoanalysis

The New Library of Psychoanalysis is published by Routledge Mental Health in association with the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London.

Its purpose is to facilitate a greater and more widespread appreciation of psychoanalysis and to provide a forum for increasing mutual understanding between psychoanalysts and those in other disciplines. The series also aims to make some of the work of continental and other non-English speaking analysts more readily available to English-speaking readers, and to increase the interchange of ideas between British and American analysts.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis published its first book in 1987 under the editorship of David Tuckett, later followed by Elizabeth Bott Spillius, Susan Budd and Dana Birksted-Breen. A considerable number of Associate Editors and readers have assisted the editors.

Under the guidance of Foreign Rights Editors, a considerable number of the New Library books have been published abroad, particularly in Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Peru, Spain and Japan.

The aim of the New Library of Psychoanalysis is to maintain the high level of scholarship of the previous series, to provide a forum for increasing understanding between psychoanalysis and other disciplines and to increase the interest of the general book-reading public in psychoanalysis.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis also aims to help the various schools of psychoanalysis to better understand each other. It has published books representing all three schools of thought in British psychoanalysis, including a particularly important work edited by Pearl King and Riccardo Steiner, expounding the intellectual and organisational controversies that developed in the British psychoanalytical Society between Kleinian, Viennese and 'middle group' analysts during the Second World War.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis has also translated and published several books by Continental psychoanalysts, and it plans in the future to continue the policy of publishing books that express as clearly as possible a variety of psychoanalytic points of view.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health