Differences in Modern & Freudian Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis starts with Freud. It is the study of unconscious motivation that affects our behavior. Freud was a believer that interpretation was curative, that telling people why they act a certain way was curative.

Modern Psychoanalysts don’t really believe that. Knowledge is not itself curative. If I told you why you were acting certain ways because your mother dropped you on your head when you were one, are you going to feel any different? Are you going to change your behavior? Probably not.

Modern Psychoanalysis was founded by Hyman Spotnitz. I was privileged to work side by side with Spotnitz for twenty years, without knowing he was this wonderful, well-known man. He figured out a number of things. For instance, Freud didn’t believe psychoanalysts could work with people with severe illness, like schizophrenia. However, Spotnitz did it quite successfully.

My practice goes from the basic neurotic, like you and me, to people suffering from schizophrenia and everybody in between. I think what’s different about modern psychoanalysis is the understanding that it’s a dyad. It takes two people to make this work. The patient and the analyst. It is an understanding that the patient doesn’t do all the work. And the analyst doesn’t do all the work. That it’s finding sort of that dance and that marriage of the two people that makes it work. ~ Rafael Sharón, NCPsyA, SCPsyA, Psychoanalyst in Princeton NJ