Lay Analysis - Freud and Non-medical Analysts

Freud and Non-medical Analysts

From the outset, Freud had welcomed lay (non-medical) people into psychotherapy: Theodor Reik was one such notable analyst. In Freud's view, psychoanalysis was a full-fledged professional field and could have its own standards independent of medicine. Indeed, in 1913 he wrote "The practice of psychoanalysis has far less need for medical training than for educational preparation in psychology and free human insight. The majority of physicians are not equipped for the work of psychoanalysis".

Thus Freud saw psychoanalysis as "a profession of lay curers of souls who need not be doctors and should not be priests"; and this new usage of "lay" (to include non-physicians) is the origin of the term, "lay analysis." Such prominent psychoanalytic figures as Anna Freud, Eric Ericson, and Ernst Kris were all non-medics.

When in the 1920s Reik became embroiled in legal challenges over his right to practice psychoanalysis, Freud rose ardently to his defence, writing Lay Analysis in support of his position; and adding privately that "the struggle for lay analysis must be fought through some time or another. Better now than later. As long as I live, I shall balk at having psychoanalysis swallowed by medicine".

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    The ego is not master in its own house.
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