Some thoughts on the diffusion of psychoanalysis: The group dimension, ethics and the sense of identity

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Abstract

In this paper the author questions some of the ways in which psychoanalysis is passed on to the wider public, one of which is sometimes evocative of the sales promotion of a consumer product in contemporary society. This methodology does not give sufficiently deep prior thought to the eventual consequences of side effects. The detailed exposition of clinical cases, for example, raises sensitive ethical issues, even when anonymity is preserved. Although it is true that making information about Freud’s theories more widely available may indeed encourage people to think about training as psychoanalysts, it is noticeable that this process is sometimes considered to be a form of training in itself. Some participants feel that acquiring a psychoanalytical vocabulary and reading clinical reports form a sufficient basis for practising thereafter as psychotherapists, both in institutional contexts and in private practice. The absence of group work on the part of the organizers might explain why closer study is not made of the methodologies of transmission and the different levels that it involves. This is sometimes due to the absence of a common object, formed within and by the group, and to the emergence of manic defences in the group.

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