The heart and mind—or soul—of psychoanalysis

These finely if not exquisitely crafted thoughts about the nature of psychoanalysis are from the Preface to Adam Phillips’ Promises, Promises: Essays on Psychoanalysis and Literature (Basic Books, 2001)* [yours truly is responsible for the bracketed material, which I hope is not too intrusive]: “As a therapy, [psychoanalysis] investigates character in language in order to make people happier, and find their lives more interesting.” “… [P]sychoanalytic writing (and practice) of every persuasion still sounds a bit like religion, a bit like metaphysics, a bit like anthropology, a bit like science. And a bit like what was still called in the earlier days of psychoanalysis, literature [and, I would add, at least on occasion, a bit like philosophy]. Indeed, it has been to literature that psychoanalysts [beginning with Freud himself] have turned when they grow weary of their supposed system, of their technological psychological sentences.”…

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