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Psychoanalysis is an esoteric cult, requiring both conversion and years of study. Fact: Psychoanalysis is no longer a highly technical medical specialty in the United States.

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This has eliminated previous attitudes of professional elitism and exclusivity. Universities and institutes now train psychologists and social workers and they in turn have proliferated and flourished in cities across the United States. Multiple theoretical orientations and practices are taught. Fact: An enormous body of research in cognitive, social, developmental, and personality psychology now supports many propositions of contemporary psychodynamic theory.

Psychoanalytic Mythology - Butterflies and Wheels

This includes unconscious cognitive, affective and motivational processes, the origins of many personality and social dispositions in childhood, and mental representations of self, others, and relationships. There is also considerable evidence for the clinical utility of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is a clinical process that takes years and years and is never over.


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The length of an analysis depends on the goals of the patient and an understanding that there is no Holy Grail of mental health that makes it possible to live happily ever. Consider making use of a PowerPoint presentation on psychoanalysis that was originally developed for undergraduates. David L.

Classical Mythology/Freudian psychology

Suite Chicago, IL Telephone: A distinction between myth the production of desire through fantasy and history an event-driven narrative corresponding to the reality principle could be made through the use of the concepts of conjunction and structure. In this sense history would be a "conjunction" having an event-driven continuity and a fantasy-driven discontinuity, while mythology myths would be a "structure" having a fantasy-driven continuity and an event-driven discontinuity. However, myth structures the desire of a group of individuals.

This distinction brings us back to Freud's abandonment of his neurotica , of the actual seduction letter to Fliess, October 15, , which until then had been the etiology of the neuroses event-driven history. To ground his new theory, he made use of the Oedipus myth and the history of Hamlet, as dramatized by Shakespeare.

Lavender Town Myths - Pokemon Fact of The Day

In this way the Oedipus complex was born as humanity's universal core. Later on, the myth of Narcissus became the link between the first and second topographical subsystems. We know that throughout his work Freud made reference to mythic characters and contexts as metaphors for the evolution of psychic reality. He clearly expressed the closeness between myths and fantasies, the products or creations of drives, when he wrote, "The theory of instincts is so to say our mythology.

Instincts are mythical entities, magnificient in their indefiniteness" a, p. The fact that the role of myth in psychoanalytic theory is obvious presents the following questions: Why was Freud's thinking, influenced by the neopositivism of his time, oriented toward myths? Why did he emphasize some myths and ignore others? At the beginning of his career, Freud constructed a "psychic apparatus" that he tried to connect with the neuroses Project for a Scientific Psychology , c [] , but he repudiated the essay for the remainder of his life.

He did so following the introduction of psychic reality, although the concept forced him to contradict the scientific and cultural climate of his age and his own tradition as a neurologist. For, to some extent, he separated the psyche from its biological substrate. But by claiming to be an atheist, and certainly an agnostic, there was no question for Freud of attaching the psyche the soul to religion, or a mystical or metaphysical concept. On the other hand, because he acknowledged that the illusion he criticized played an important role in the shared life of mankind, he sought this illusion of the imagination in myth.

Because fantasy fell halfway between the real and the imaginary, myths, at least some of them, fell somewhere between the mysticism of religion and the reality of desire.

Thus the mythologies closest to the mental apparatus and psychosexual evolution reinforce and are mirrored in his conception of "psychic reality". Reading the index to the Standard Edition , we find that Faust and Hamlet are the most frequently cited texts. With respect to mythic texts strictly speaking, Greco-Roman mythology is the most prevalent. Germanic-Scandinavian mythology is absent in Freud's writings. The mythology and art of Egypt are of interest to Freud and he writes often of Amenophis IV-Akhenation with respect to monotheism and he mentions Isis and Osiris.

He is familiar with the Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad of India , where the genesis of the world is described on the basis of the Aturan the self or ego ; he quotes Ramakrishna and Vivekananda but never the Veda or the revelations of Brahma. The Buddhist concept of nirvana serves as a metaphor of instinctual economy. He also cites the epic of Gilgamesh. The Bible is found throughout his work but as a religious reference rather than a mythic context.

He does comment on the dilemma of Abraham and Isaac, and the dream of Solomon, but for Freud the mythical hero of the Bible is Moses , because of his strength and spirituality. Fascinated by Roman statuary, especially Michelangelo's Moses , Freud devoted his last book to the legend of Moses. Moses and Monotheism a [] is an anthropological construct, where the eternal Freudian quest for the origin of mankind and the evolution of civilizations unfolds, especially in the transition from the matriarchy to the patriarchy, which is presented as a victory of spirituality over sensuality.

Concerning this, Freud writes, "An echo of this revolution seems still to be audible in the Oresteia of Aeschylus " p. But it is Totem and Taboo a that unquestionably remains Freud's laboratory on the question of origins, primal fantasies, and the origin of fantasy, even the origin of myth and its role in structuring "psychic reality".

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In the first part of the book, Freud generalizes his thinking, quoting several historians of primitive peoples, but without reference to a specific mythology. In evoking the guilt arising from the totemic meal, or "tragic fault," he writes, "In particular, I have supposed that the sense of guilt for an action has persisted for many thousands of years and has remained operative in generations which can have had no knowledge of that action" pp.

The first two-thirds of the book refers to the fear of incest, to taboo, and the ambivalence of the feelings associated with animism, magic, and the omnipotence of ideas. Throughout the work Freud attempts, using analogies from mythology, to structure this primitive-instinctual inconsistency, sometimes expressed by legends dominated by magical or animist thought, with a kind of anthropological coherence.

Psychoanalytic Approaches to Myth: Freud and the Freudians

The omnipotence of ideas provides him with an opportunity to quote Hamlet and create a connection between animist thought and obsessive representations, but it is chapter IV, "The Return of Totemism in Childhood," that marks a turning point toward "Occidental" psychopathology and the mythology that masks it. Freud gradually abandoned pre-Hellenic "mythology," which had been necessary until then to identify primitive thought. In analyzing totemism and the totem meal, he notes that their content coincides a, p. He begins with the sacrifice, "the sacred act par excellence," quoting often from The Religion of the Semites of W.

Robertson Smith: "The primitive animal sacrifice was already intended to replace a human sacrifice, the solemn killing of the father.