There is indeed much from a modern perspective that is dubious and unacceptable in Freud's practice. But what seem unmistakable in recent attacks is an invidious attempt to discredit psychotherapy and/or psychoanalysis as a whole by discrediting the main originator of the talking cure. The attacks on Freud have not related Freud's contributions and errors to major modern strands of pyschoanalytic theory and practice which have replaced traditional instinctual theories (sex, aggression, etc) by relational models of human development and needs. So, for example, the important question of therapist suggestion discussed by Crews is understood by relationally oriented clinicians as an avoiding reaction by an analyst not able to tolerate the difficult conflicting emotions that can be present in the consulting room.
Superficial attacks such as Crews' simply pander to those elements in our culture who find it too uncomfortable to examine subjective experience with any degree of honesty. Similarly, the question of suggestion has been seized upon to throw doubt on the reality of widespread childhood sexual abuse, reality that Freud himself never doubted. Freud was one of the great figures of the 20th century. We have something to learn about ourselves by asking why we are so willing to trash heroes we ourselves have created.
29 JanuaryReuse content