Letters to the Editor
Neuropsychoanalysis Exists
Psychiatric News
Volume 46 Number 9 page 26-26

I read with great interest the front page article in the March 4 issue titled "Analysis Can Use Dose of Neuroscience, Says Kandel." I have profited from a number of wonderful workshops on various neuroscience topics that Dr. Kandel gave over the years at meetings of the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA).

The kind of integration between psychoanalytic understanding and the contributions of neuroscience that Kandel espouses has indeed been taking place. Weekly lectures on "neuropsychoanalysis" have been held at the Arnold Pfeffer Center of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, under the leadership of Mark Solms, Ph.D., for a number of years. The lectures are available for viewing on the Internet. In January 2010, I chaired a session of the Workshop on Curriculum and Didactic Teaching for curriculum chairs of its constituent institutes on the topic "The Role of Neuroscience in the Psychoanalytic Curriculum." We learned, among other things, that 19 of the 30 APsaA institutes had already included such coursework in their curriculum and that other institutes were also planning to do so.

Psychoanalysis was developed by a neurologist! Sigmund Freud's 1895 "Project for a Scientific Psychology" was an effort to explain human psychology in terms of central nervous system functioning. He abandoned it because he realized that the hydraulic model for the CNS's ridding itself of stimuli that he used, based on the very primitive state of neuroscience at that time, was untenable. He expressed hope that one day progress in neurological understanding would enable us to achieve the goal whose pursuit he was forced to abandon. It would appear that that day has come.


Maplewood, N.J.

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