Daniel Widlöcher

Psychoanalysis and Its Great Debates Publication date : February 21, 2008

Every since Freud's founding texts, psychoanalysis has been the object of heated debate. But nourished by clinical practice, the confrontation between analysts and between their rival schools has also been a source of knowledge and understanding. Four crucial moments have been chosen here to illustrate the history of psychoanalytic debates: the great controversy on the subject of child psychoanalysis between Anna Freud and Melanie Klein, in 1943; the Rio de la Plata discussions of 1972 about Lacanism and Kleinism; the respective roles played by childhood attachment and sexuality in the construction of psychic life, as discussed by Daniel Widlöcher, Jean Laplanche and Peter Fornagy, in 2000; the controversy about the future of psychoanalysis, debated by Daniel Widlöcher and Jacques-Henri Miller, in 2004.

This is a brilliant examination of the nature, state and achievements of psychoanalysis, now and in the past.

Each issue under discussion is placed in its historical and psychoanalytical context. The contribution of each participant is transcribed here, then re-examined from an epistemological angle and through the prism of current knowledge.

Psychoanalysis has never been a rigid, fixed dogma, as its detractors hold. It has, instead, always been nourished by intense discussion. This book shows how to carry on in this tradition.

Daniel Widlöcher, a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and former head of Psychiatry at Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, in Paris, is a member of the Psychoanalytic Association of France (APF) and was formerly the president of the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA). He is the author of La Psychanalyse en dialogue (2003) and Les Nouvelles Cartes de la psychanalyse (1996).

Alain Braconnier, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst specialising in adolescents, teaches at the University of Paris-V and heads the Centre Philippe-Paumelle, in Paris. He is the author of Le Guide des adolescents (2005), Mère et fils (2005) and Les Filles et les pères (2007).

Bertrand Hanin is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst practising at Hôpital Sainte Anne, in Paris.

Widlöcher, Hanin and Braconnier are the editors of Choisir sa psychothérapie (2006).