Affirming ‘That’s not psycho-analysis!’ On the value of the politically incorrect act of attempting to define the limits of our field



This paper is concerned with the value of the act of defining the field of psychoanalysis. It examines the reasons why adopting and especially giving voice to a definition that excludes approaches considered by some analysts to be analytic is commonly regarded as unacceptable within psychoanalytic discourse. It then explains the value and advantages of putting forth exclusive definitions. The author argues that clarifying the pros and cons of such acts of definition contributes to the understanding of the nature of psychoanalysis and the possibility of dialogue between opposing understandings of it. It may also contribute to greater freedom of thought and expression which is essential to the development of psychoanalytic theory and practice.