Online Dictionary of Mental Health
Top Ten Bestsellers (continuously updated): abuse, adhd, adoption, aging, aids, alcoholism, alternative medicine, anxiety disorders, autism, bipolar disorder, child development, child care, conversion disorders, counseling psychology, cults, death and dying, depression, dissociative disorders, domestic violence, dreams, eating disorders, forensic psychology, gay, lesbian & bisexual, grief, learning disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, parenting, personality disorders, professional counseling and psychotherapy, psychiatry, psychopathy, PTSD, rape, schizophrenia, sexual disorders, self-esteem, self-help, stress, suicide, violence.

[ HOME | A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z ]

 | What's new | Search | Guestbook | Feedback | Add Your URL |

Burying Freud

[ Burying Freud Homepage | Freud's Seduction Theory Homepage ]

Make sure you stay in touch with the latest news, research, reviews and debate by reading
The Human Nature Daily Review every day.

WHY FREUD WAS WRONG SIN SCIENCE AND PSYCHOANALYSIS

By Richard Webster

Why Freud Was WrongWith several million people around the globe either lying on the couch or undergoing some derivative therapy it is increasingly important to develop critical approaches to the study of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis, so often a closed and secret establishment, is none too ready to open its doors for much critical scrutiny, but to engage in yet another round of Freud bashing, as Richard Webster has done in his 'Why Freud Was Wrong' is not only disheartening but frankly tedious.

After more than 500 pages of denigrating Freud and deifying Darwin, 41 pages of appendices and a further 75 pages of dense notes that Webster couldn't bear to leave out, I needed more than air and smelling salts to revive me.

Webster's story goes something like this: little Sigmund Freud was a rather dirty and rejected child who, because of the deep need to repay his parents for being so undesirable, embarked upon a messianic mission to world fame with his own disciples and church to boot. So urgent was Freud's need for fame and success, we are told, he not only deluded himself and deceived others; he also fell prey to the deceptions and delusions of his deranged seniors and special confidants through projecting onto others his own messianic urges.

But, Webster asserts Freud was not alone in his mistaken claims and beliefs. According to Webster, virtually all significant medical research workers of the late nineteenth Century (Gall, Charcot, Breuer, Janet, Babinski for example) were producing theories that were no more than "a tissue of error, folly and partial truth", and the admiring Freud believed what should have been the unbelievable. This speculative history seems to lack any empathic engagement with its own material.

An example of Webster's speculative and globalising argument is that Freud and various colleagues persistently and mistakenly diagnosed hysteria in great numbers of women, the majority of whom were in fact suffering from epilepsy. The heterogeneity and vicissitudes of past and present psychiatric diagnoses is at least as likely an explanation for most mistakes made, rather than the claim that all or nearly all "hysteria" can be accounted for by organic brain disease.

Vehemently opposed to the unconscious and the idea of repression through to the appendices, Webster nevertheless and with no embarrassment invokes ideas of self deception and projection to declare that Freud is motivated by desires of which he is apparently unaware. This sounds like psychoanalysis!

Following a plethora of gratuitous stories too base for polemic and too repetitious for rhetoric, we are warned not to ever "make the mistake of attributing to Freud a degree of objectivity and clear sightedness which he was psychologically unable to achieve". Instead, we are told to turn to "Websterian" neo-Darwinism, although he doesn't quite get to telling us exactly what this is.

To paraphrase Freud, where God was, there Darwin (and Webster) shall be. And all we have to do is to join Webster and simply solve the mind body problem. Most importantly, we must stop seeing the pure mind as separate from the unclean body, a truly Judeo-Christian understanding which, Webster goes on, has infected the thought of not only psychoanalysis, but also most of rational thought up to and including structuralism, post structuralism, literary theory and virtually every thing else.

To be fair to Webster, he covers much ground and some of his characterisations seem plausible; but his at times shallow understanding leads to what can only be described as gaffes. For example, Webster claims that memories cannot be forgotten and remembered; that the psychoanalytic idea of "unconscious rage" is absurd; that free association is really catholic confession and that Freud intentionally technicalised his language to give it an air of professional authenticity.

These claims are simply uninformed. Freud is quite clear that only ideas can be unconscious, feelings cannot. In addition, the technical language is, in the main introduced by the English translators- in the original German Freud, there is no ego, no id and no superego. Finally, although spiritual direction has some similarities with free association in psychoanalysis, the former has been greatly influenced by psychoanalysis but nevertheless has very different aims (e.g. to become a better Christian).

There is something irresponsible in all of this. Indeed, Webster himself feels obliged to qualify this blistering attack by trying to claim that his intention is really, truly, honestly constructive! And yet he offers nothing to replace the therapeutic method of psychoanalysis and takes no account of the immense difficulty of effectively evaluating any substantial psychological treatment. Perhaps, it is not only Freud who suffers from a "compulsive need to gain recognition".

Tim Kendall

Customers who bought this book also bought:

Memory Wars : Freud's Legacy in Dispute ; Frederick Crews

The Aryan Christ : The Secret Life of Carl Jung; Richard Noll

A History of Psychiatry : From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac; Edward Shorter

Memory Wars : Freud's Legacy in Dispute ; Frederick Crews

The Aryan Christ : The Secret Life of Carl Jung; Richard Noll

A History of Psychiatry : From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac; Edward Shorter


human-nature.com
Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young - Last updated: 28 May, 2005 02:29 PM

US -
 Search:
Keywords:  

Amazon.com logo

UK -
 Search:
Keywords:  

Amazon.co.uk logo

 | Human Nature | The Human Nature Daily Review | Psychiatry Research Online |

Burying Freud

[ Burying Freud Homepage | Freud's Seduction Theory Homepage ]

Make sure you stay in touch with the latest news, research, reviews and debate by reading
The Human Nature Daily Review every day.

WHY FREUD WAS WRONG SIN SCIENCE AND PSYCHOANALYSIS

By Richard Webster

Why Freud Was WrongWith several million people around the globe either lying on the couch or undergoing some derivative therapy it is increasingly important to develop critical approaches to the study of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis, so often a closed and secret establishment, is none too ready to open its doors for much critical scrutiny, but to engage in yet another round of Freud bashing, as Richard Webster has done in his 'Why Freud Was Wrong' is not only disheartening but frankly tedious.

After more than 500 pages of denigrating Freud and deifying Darwin, 41 pages of appendices and a further 75 pages of dense notes that Webster couldn't bear to leave out, I needed more than air and smelling salts to revive me.

Webster's story goes something like this: little Sigmund Freud was a rather dirty and rejected child who, because of the deep need to repay his parents for being so undesirable, embarked upon a messianic mission to world fame with his own disciples and church to boot. So urgent was Freud's need for fame and success, we are told, he not only deluded himself and deceived others; he also fell prey to the deceptions and delusions of his deranged seniors and special confidants through projecting onto others his own messianic urges.

But, Webster asserts Freud was not alone in his mistaken claims and beliefs. According to Webster, virtually all significant medical research workers of the late nineteenth Century (Gall, Charcot, Breuer, Janet, Babinski for example) were producing theories that were no more than "a tissue of error, folly and partial truth", and the admiring Freud believed what should have been the unbelievable. This speculative history seems to lack any empathic engagement with its own material.

An example of Webster's speculative and globalising argument is that Freud and various colleagues persistently and mistakenly diagnosed hysteria in great numbers of women, the majority of whom were in fact suffering from epilepsy. The heterogeneity and vicissitudes of past and present psychiatric diagnoses is at least as likely an explanation for most mistakes made, rather than the claim that all or nearly all "hysteria" can be accounted for by organic brain disease.

Vehemently opposed to the unconscious and the idea of repression through to the appendices, Webster nevertheless and with no embarrassment invokes ideas of self deception and projection to declare that Freud is motivated by desires of which he is apparently unaware. This sounds like psychoanalysis!

Following a plethora of gratuitous stories too base for polemic and too repetitious for rhetoric, we are warned not to ever "make the mistake of attributing to Freud a degree of objectivity and clear sightedness which he was psychologically unable to achieve". Instead, we are told to turn to "Websterian" neo-Darwinism, although he doesn't quite get to telling us exactly what this is.

To paraphrase Freud, where God was, there Darwin (and Webster) shall be. And all we have to do is to join Webster and simply solve the mind body problem. Most importantly, we must stop seeing the pure mind as separate from the unclean body, a truly Judeo-Christian understanding which, Webster goes on, has infected the thought of not only psychoanalysis, but also most of rational thought up to and including structuralism, post structuralism, literary theory and virtually every thing else.

To be fair to Webster, he covers much ground and some of his characterisations seem plausible; but his at times shallow understanding leads to what can only be described as gaffes. For example, Webster claims that memories cannot be forgotten and remembered; that the psychoanalytic idea of "unconscious rage" is absurd; that free association is really catholic confession and that Freud intentionally technicalised his language to give it an air of professional authenticity.

These claims are simply uninformed. Freud is quite clear that only ideas can be unconscious, feelings cannot. In addition, the technical language is, in the main introduced by the English translators- in the original German Freud, there is no ego, no id and no superego. Finally, although spiritual direction has some similarities with free association in psychoanalysis, the former has been greatly influenced by psychoanalysis but nevertheless has very different aims (e.g. to become a better Christian).

There is something irresponsible in all of this. Indeed, Webster himself feels obliged to qualify this blistering attack by trying to claim that his intention is really, truly, honestly constructive! And yet he offers nothing to replace the therapeutic method of psychoanalysis and takes no account of the immense difficulty of effectively evaluating any substantial psychological treatment. Perhaps, it is not only Freud who suffers from a "compulsive need to gain recognition".

Tim Kendall

Customers who bought this book also bought:

Memory Wars : Freud's Legacy in Dispute ; Frederick Crews

The Aryan Christ : The Secret Life of Carl Jung; Richard Noll

A History of Psychiatry : From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac; Edward Shorter

Memory Wars : Freud's Legacy in Dispute ; Frederick Crews

The Aryan Christ : The Secret Life of Carl Jung; Richard Noll

A History of Psychiatry : From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac; Edward Shorter


human-nature.com
Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young - Last updated: 28 May, 2005 02:29 PM

US -
 Search:
Keywords:  

Amazon.com logo

UK -
 Search:
Keywords:  

Amazon.co.uk logo

 | Human Nature | The Human Nature Daily Review | Psychiatry Research Online |