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Raymond Cahn

The End of the Couch ?

Why do psychoanalysts refuse to review their methods, while simultaneously recognising that life-styles have evolved and that new pathologies have come into existence? Why, for example, do they remain devoted to the psychoanalyst’s couch, while realising that certain “cures” are at a dead-end? This is a controversial work on the challenges facing psychoanalysis — a field that had its hour of glory in the 1960s but has since been somewhat discredited. At the end of a career covering more than forty years, Raymond Cahn examines his own experience and shows how psychoanalysis has been harmed by the rigidity of its practice. The struggle of psychoanalysis to find the place it deserves among the numerous other forms of psychotherapy can only be partially imputed to the competition of rival techniques such as behaviourism, and even less so to internal squabbles and the sectarianism of some. What is really at cause is the failure of psychoanalysis to evolve when it should have, and particularly its inability to account for the appearance of new types of narcissistic disorders ?

Raymond Cahn is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, and the former president of the Société psychanalytique of Paris. He is the author of many works, including L’Adolescent dans la pyschanalyse.