Center and margin in mainstream psychoanalysis: The case of neuropsychoanalysis

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This paper explores the intricate relations between neuropsychoanalysis and mainstream psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic communities tend to be suspicious of non-psychoanalytic bodies of knowledge and to dismiss their relevance for the clinical encounter. This dismissive attitude is regarded by many as part of psychoanalysts’ indoctrination, arrogance, and over-fascination with their own theories. The paper offers an alternative explanation of psychoanalysts’ reluctance to be influenced by other non-psychoanalytic sciences, in particular neuropsychoanalysis. By demonstrating that resistance to change and a commitment to entrenched theoretical positions are ubiquitous within science, the paper indicates that the reluctance of mainstream psychoanalysts to use findings from neuropsychoanalysis is not irrational but normal. It does not stem from arrogance, but from two inherent qualities within psychoanalytic knowledge: (a) difficulties in relying on extra-clinical sources, and (b) full reliance on an all-encompassing psychoanalytic narrative. The paper discusses ways by which neuropsychoanalysis can evolve by becoming more relevant to the daily practice of psychoanalysts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021

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  • neuropsychoanalysis
  • psychoanalytic theory


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