The Impossible ProfessionRead Now
A friend of mine recently passed along an article from The Spectator which reports the dramatic decline of psychoanalysis in New York . New York has long been the thriving hub of psychoanalytic culture so to discover that psychoanalysis is now something that very few New Yorkers do comes as something of a shock. The article, which unfortunately fails to distinguish psychoanalysis from other forms of psychotherapy, reports that a recent survey reveals that the average number of clients that a therapist sees is a mere 2.75 (per day? per week? per year?--the article didn't say) . So what has happened? According to this article, prospective patients now turn to other forms of treatment to deal with their psychological complaints.. CBT, anti-depressants, meditation and yoga were all mentioned as preferred alternatives., even though the last one can hardly begin to address the problems that psychotherapy typically deals with. But the tone of the article was one of faint mockery and referred to Woody Allen and his famous neurosis as if that sort of case were typical for therapy. The survey on which the article was based seems somewhat questionable, as well. Just who were queried? The New York Times runs an excellent series of articles about psychotherapy called "Couch", the regular appearance of which suggests that psychotherapy still has an important place for its readers. So is it possible that the survey was restricted to classical or orthodox Freudian analysts and neglected to canvass the far more numerous psychodynamic practitioners who draw heavily on psychoanalytic theory without adhering to Freudian practices? Even so, it would still seem that Freudian psychoanalysis, which once predominated in psychotherapy and is the progenitor of virtually every form psychotherapy, may now be in terminal decline. And though the reasons for that are not hard to guess, there is a larger question beyond the fate of psychoanalysis. Is the future for every form of psychotherapy as dim as it appears to be for psychoanalysis?
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