Guy Darcourt

Can Psychoanalysis Still Be of Use to Psychiatry? Publication date : November 16, 2006

Since the 1980s, psychoanalysis has been the object of severe criticism. International classifications have reduced many psychiatric disorders to a series of objective criteria, and behavioural and cognitive theories have denied the role of the unconscious. Yet does all this mean that psychoanalysis should be rejected?
Psychiatry today has everything to gain from the application of multiple theories, since no single theory can explain all the aspects of a given mental pathology. In this context, psychoanalysis still has a major role to play, contributing significantly to the diagnosis. By analysing the dynamics underlying certain disorders, psychoanalysis can help define the appropriate treatment.
Psychoanalysis also plays an obvious part in diagnosing and treating neuroses, perversions, narcissistic disorders, and borderline states. And it can also help restore psychic harmony.
The author argues in favour of a profitable dialogue between psychoanalysis and psychiatry to further our knowledge of what is normal and what is pathological.

This book reviews some basic notions of psychoanalysis and explains why certain psychoanalytic concepts serve as useful models to analyse the workings of the psyche.
Guy Darcourt examines the respective contributions of the psychiatric and psychoanalytic approaches in improving our understanding of the manifestations of the disease and in helping select the most appropriate therapeutic method. He shows how psychoanalytic theory has enriched psychiatry and given it a better grasp of the individual.

Guy Darcourt is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and professor emeritus of psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine in Nice. He is a former president of the French Federation of Psychiatry.