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Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute & Society

What Use is Freud?

Michael Shulman, Ph.D.
Psychoanalyst and Faculty Member, Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute

Discussant: Dwarakanath G. Rao, M.D. Training and Supervising Analyst, Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute

Saturday, April 2, 2016
2:00 - 4:00 PM
*2 CME and CE Credit Hours
Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute, 32841 Middlebelt Road, Farmington Hills

Freud's reputation has morphed greatly over the past 40 years, not only in popular culture but in the academic world as well. Current perceptions of Freud are generally very negative. As a result, Freud has gone from being a seeming major long-term asset to the psychoanalytic field, to an apparent major impediment. The American academy, in which Freud previously had held a place of notable esteem, as well as the mental health disciplines, are all asking “What use is studying Freud, or for that matter, psychoanalysis and its ideas, at all?” This presentation offers 1) a parsing-out of the costs to analysis of its having been so long, and so fully, identified with Freud, and 2) a proposal for discriminating useful from no-longer-useful principles of thought and ideas in Freud.

About the presenter: Michael Shulman, Ph.D. is in the full-time private practice of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and consultation in Ann Arbor. He holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan, and serves on the faculties of MPI and University of Michigan's Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Shulman supervises clinical psychology doctoral students at the University of Detroit-Mercy and psychiatric residents at University of Michigan and is a past faculty member at Madonna University and the University of Toledo. He is a past Co-Chair of the Committee on Psychoanalysis and Undergraduate Education of the American Psychoanalytic Association and past Program Chair of MPS. He has published in psychoanalytic journals including the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, and Psychoanalytic Inquiry.

Practice Gap (CME): Freud's reputation has morphed from being an asset to psychoanalysis to a seeming major impediment to it. This reputational shift has occurred not only in mental health practice, but also in the estimation of much of the American academy and intellectual culture, in which Freud had previously held a privileged place. This presentation offers an outline of the costs to psychoanalysis of its having been so fully identified with the work of Freud, and a proposal for discriminating useful from no-longer-useful principles of thought and ideas in Freud as these constitute origin points in the unfolding history of psychoanalysis.

After attending this presentation, participants should be able to:
1) Recognize how the changing reputation of the field's founder affects both practice and theory in psychoanalysis, as well as affecting public perception and misperception of psychoanalysis as a living and evolving field.
2) Differentiate dying from living portions of Freud's thought.