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September 14, 1984

The Future of Psychoanalysis

Author Affiliations

University of California at Los Angeles

JAMA. 1984;252(10):1353. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350100069041

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One of the—perhaps "The"—problem with psychoanalysis is that its theoreticians and practitioners can't agree on how to define conceptual terms, how to identify variables, or how to decide which variables are important to study. The Future ofPsychoanalysis is a testament to this problem, although certainly it was not so intended. Rather, in the very best and most serious sense, it was conceived of as a series of essays to honor Heinz Kohut on his 70th birthday.

Heinz Kohut was an unusual person and psychoanalyst. He was humble, thoughtful, compassionate, and full of the spirit of inquiry. He inspired these qualities among many of his students. He began to develop his "novel" or "revisionist" interpretations of the human psyche at a time when a growing number of practitioners had become "tired" of many of Freud's early formulations, which, in large part, had dominated psychoanalytic thinking for three quarters of a