Freud against the doctors

I had no idea:

In 1926 … the doctors of the New York Psychoanalytic Society declared their independence from their European forebears by decreeing that only physicians could practice psychoanalysis. Back in Vienna, Freud was livid. Medical education was exactly the wrong preparation for a psychoanalyst, he wrote, as it abandoned study of “the history of civilization and sociology” for anatomy and biology, culture for science. A psychoanalyst trained this way was bound to have the wrong idea about psychic suffering: that it was an illness to be isolated and cured by the doctor. This was a form of piety that Freud could not tolerate. “As long as I live,” he wrote, “I shall balk at having psychoanalysis swallowed by medicine.”

—Gary Greenberg, The War on Unhappiness, Harper’s Magazine (subscription required)

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Tagged: psychology, history

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