Advantages of Psychoanalysis

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The theoretical foundations of psychoanalysis lay in the same philosophical currents that lead to interpretive phenomenology rather than in those that lead to scientific positivism, making the theory largely incompatible with scientific approaches to the study of the mind.[70][71][72][73][74] Early critics of psychoanalysis believed that its theories were based too little on quantitative and experimental research, and too much on the clinical case study method. Some even accused Freud of fabrication, most famously in the case of Anna O. (Borch-Jacobsen 1996). An increasing amount of empirical research from academic psychologists and psychiatrists has begun to address this criticism. A survey of scientific research suggested that while personality traits corresponding to Freud's oral, anal, Oedipal, and genital phases can be observed, they do not necessarily manifest as stages in the development of children. These studies also have not confirmed that such traits in adults result from childhood experiences (Fisher & Greenberg, 1977, p. 399). However, these stages should not be viewed as crucial to modern psychoanalysis. What is crucial to modern psychoanalytic theory and practice is the power of the unconscious and the transference phenomenon. Numerous studies have shown that its efficiency is related to the quality of the therapist, rather than the psychoanalytic school or technique or training.[75] A French 2004 report from INSERM said that psychoanalytic therapy is far less effective than other psychotherapies (among which cognitive behavioral therapy). It used a meta-analysis of numerous other studies to find whether the treatment was "proven" or "presumed" to be effective on different diseases.[68] Numerous studies have shown that its efficacy is related to the quality of the therapist, rather than the psychoanalytic school or technique or training,[76] while a French 2004 report from INSERM says instead, that psychoanalysis therapy is far less effective than other psychotherapies (among which cognitive behavioral therapy).[68] The idea of "unconscious" is contested because human behavior can be observed while human mental activity has to be inferred. However, the unconscious is now a popular topic of study in the fields of experimental and social psychology (e.g., implicit attitude measures, fMRI, and PET scans, and other indirect tests). The idea of unconscious, and the transference phenomenon, have been widely researched and, it is claimed, validated in the fields of cognitive psychology and social psychology (Westen & Gabbard 2002), though a Freudian interpretation of unconscious mental activity is not held by the majority of cognitive psychologists. Recent developments in neuroscience have resulted in one side arguing that it has provided a biological basis for unconscious emotional processing in line with psychoanalytic theory i.e., neuropsychoanalysis (Westen & Gabbard 2002), while the other side argues that such findings make psychoanalytic theory obsolete and irrelevant. Both Freud and psychoanalysis have been criticized in very extreme terms.[77] Exchanges between critics and defenders of psychoanalysis have often been so heated that they have come to be characterized as the Freud Wars. Karl Popper argued that psychoanalysis is a pseudoscience because its claims are not testable and cannot be refuted; that is, they are not falsifiable.[78] Karl Kraus, an Austrian satirist, was the subject of a book written by noted libertarian author Thomas Szasz. The book Anti-Freud: Karl Kraus's Criticism of Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry, originally published under the name Karl Kraus and the Soul Doctors, portrayed Kraus as a harsh critic of Sigmund Freud and of psychoanalysis in general. Other commentators, such as Edward Timms, author of Karl Kraus – Apocalyptic Satirist, have argued that Kraus respected Freud, though with reservations about the application of some of his theories, and that his views were far less...
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