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Books, Journals, New Media
February 23, 2000

PsychoanalysisMadness on the Couch: Blaming the Victim in the Heyday of Psychoanalysis

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


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JAMA. 2000;283(8):1072-1073. doi:10.1001/jama.283.8.1072-JBK0223-4-1

There was a coincidental timeliness of the opening of the Freud exhibits in Washington and New York and the publication of Edward Dolnick's Madness on the Couch. Good Dr Freud and his misapplication of theories, which is what this book is all about, has seemingly never had a peaceful moment. The dust jacket summary traces the misapplication and resultant failure of psychoanalysis to successfully treat three major mental illnesses—the reader is thus led to expect the decapitation of psychoanalysis. Freud's detractors, always quick to use some of the harshest terms, have attempted to portray him at worst as a deceitful, predatory charlatan and, at best, as a possibly misguided, undisciplined, unscientific thinker whose ideas managed to bamboozle a fairly large number of people over the last half century, both patients and therapists alike.

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