About Modern Psychoanalysis
Modern psychoanalysis is a contemporary school of psychoanalysis, which takes as its starting point Freud’s basic theory of human motivation and psychic functioning. Like all psychoanalysts, modern psychoanalysts emphasize the unconscious nature of much of human motivation, the impact of the early development of mental functioning on later functioning, and the tendency of people to repeat patterns of handling emotional arousal states.
Also similar to other schools of psychoanalysis, modern psychoanalytic treatment emphasizes helping the patient talk progressively, working on resolving resistance to putting everything into words and on analyzing the transference of repetitive emotional patterns experienced with the analyst. Modern psychoanalysis differs from some schools of psychoanalysis by following Freud’s later work and the work of Melanie Klein in emphasizing the importance to the developing psyche of dealing with destructive aggression as well as sexual motivation.
Modern psychoanalysts beginning with Hyman Spotnitz, Phyllis Meadow and others, have extended the purview of psychoanalysis to the treatment of the narcissistic disorders including schizophrenia. Treatment of the regressed and narcissistic patient has led to expansion of theory and technique. This includes an expansion from reliance on interpretation to use of other techniques, which facilitate the development of the narcissistic transference, an important first step in the treatment of the regressed individual. The patient’s defenses are respected as early positive and negative feeling states and coping patterns are aroused and worked through in the analytic setting. Modern psychoanalytic technique, applied in individual analysis and group analysis, continues to prove useful in working with the full range of emotional disorders and problems, not just narcissistic disorders.
In modern psychoanalytic training institutes, emphasis is placed on the integration of cognitive and emotional learning. Students learn to recognize and use their emotional responses, in conjunction with theory and observation, as the basis for a constructive exchange with others in the classroom and in the clinical setting.
The Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis (formerly the Boston Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies) attained degree-granting status, receiving accreditation in 1996. The school currently offers three master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees as well as the certificate in psychoanalysis. A branch campus in Manhattan offers the master’s degree.