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April 29, 1974

Psychoanalysis: Science and Profession

JAMA. 1974;228(5):634-635. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230300060042

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Max Gitelson was primarily a therapist and a political leader in his field, becoming president of the American Psychoanalytic Association and later of the International Psychoanalytic Association. I think this was largely because he was an articulate spokesman for the best of the orthodox analysts, identifying with their anxieties about psychoanalysis as they understood it. He was not outstanding as a theoretician, like Heinz Hartmann, or as a clinical investigator, like Margaret Mahler. Rather, he was sensitive to the currents and developments of his times in American society at large as well as within the field of psychoanalysis.

His writings, here conveniently collected from diverse sources, reflect his concern with preserving the purity of psychoanalysis as he and the orthodox saw it, and defending it against what they saw as attacks from all sides that they felt tended to dilute, deflect, or otherwise distort it. Thus, defensive polemical elements enter