A Very Short Introduction
Ever since Freud formulated the Oedipus complex, wrote the analyst Hanna Segal, ‘it has been recognized as the central conflict in the human psyche—the central cluster of conflicting impulses, phantasies, anxieties and defences. It has therefore become the centre of psychoanalytic work.’ It is indeed a pivotal idea in psychoanalysis, and one that has also been the source of withering criticisms.
7. Further innovations and controversies
In an interview in 1990, Laplanche protested against the ‘social adaptation of the profession’. He sharply criticized those seeking to impose upon analysis ‘any pre-established social aim’, arguing that the treatment ‘is purely a personal question’. He rejected the distinction between clinical and theoretical matters, questioning the privileged category of training analysts (those selected by their organizations in order to analyse would-be analysts), and any assumption that the field itself belongs to the formal analytical societies anyway.
A tradition that became prominent in post-war America, ‘ego psychology’, was an old and obvious target