Last updated: May 29, 2003

Narrative Psychology Search


[Narrative Psychology]

 Topics in Narrative Psychology

  Psychanalysis & Depth Psychologies

          Background  ||  Internet  ||  Bibliographical  ||  Theorists

Background Issues

This page deal with narrative as it relates to psychoanalysis and the depth psychologies which developed in both Europe and the United States as a consequence of or in reaction to the work of Sigmun Freud. The more general topic of psychotherapy and psychological methods of healing are treated on a separate subpage. Other subpages are devoted to the issues of the the assessment of mental disorders and the nature and construction of psychopathology and mental disorders, two important topics in the disciplines of clinical psychology and psychiatry.

Theorists*Key Figures

Internet Resouces

Freud Museum (London, UK). Broad set of visual and printed resources about both Freud historically and psychoanalysis today. Very extensive set of Freud & psychoanalytic links.

Sigmund Freud Museum (Vienna, Austria).

New York Psychoanalytic Institute & Society (New York City)

Sigmund Freud: Conflict and Culture (Library of Congress). Controversial 1999 exhibit at the LOC with significant archival materials displayed online.

Psychoanalysis and Narrative Medicine: A Conference at the University of Florida
February 19-22, 2004
Gainesville, FL

Bibliographical Resources

Felman, S., & Laub, D. (1992). Testimony: Crisis of witnessing in literature, psychoanalysis, and history. New York: Routledge.

Freeman, M. (1985). Psychoanalytic narration and the problem of historical knowledge. Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 8, 133-182.

Freeman, M. (1989). Between the "science" and the "art" of interpretation: Freud's method of interpreting dreams. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 6, 293-308.

Gay, P. (1988). Freud: A life for our time. New York: W. W. Norton.

This biography of Freud written by Gay, the Yale historian of the Englightenment, Weimar German culture, and psychoanalysis, offers a thoroughly accessible, moderately contemporary, though ultimately middle-of-the-road view of Freud's work, thought, and self-understanding. For researchers interested in understanding the origins and complexities of the man and his thought, Gay's monumental and critical "Bibliographical Essay" (pp. 741-779) surveying the secondary literature devoted to psychoanalysis and Freud up through the mid-1980s is particularly valuable. Works focusing on the historical background and intellectual grounding of both psychoanalysis and early 20th century psychiatry are surveyd on pp. 753-755. Note that narrative interpretations of psychoanalysis suggested by Schafer (1976) and Spence (1984) do not appear to have influenced Gay's understanding of the analytic method.

Gilman, S. L. (1993). The case of Sigmund Freud: Medicine and identity at the fin de siecle. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Examines Freud's development within the context of Vienna's racist and anti-semitic culture.

Hornstein, G. A. (1992). The return of the repressed: Psychology's problematic relations with psychoanalysis, 1909-1960. American Psychologist, 47, 254-263.

Psychology has been in dialogue and conflict with psychoanalysis since Freud's initial trip to the U.S. This article details the ways in which psychology coped with the "radical subjectivity" of psychoanalysis and the positivist program by which psychology responded. A good historical perspective on important issues.

Lunbeck, E., & Simon, B. (Eds.). (2003). Family romance, family secrets: Case notes from an American psychoanalysis, 1912. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Nye, C. H. (1994). Narrative interaction and the development of client autonomy in clinical practice. Clinical Social Work Journal, 22, 43-57.

How does a client develop autonomy in the course of psychoanalytic treatment? A case is used to demonstrate, by use of discourse analysis, how this is seen in a client's narrative within therapy.

Schafer, R. (1976). A new language for psychoanalysis. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. [BF173.S3278]

Schafer, R. (1992). Retelling a life: Narration and dialogue in psychoanalysis. New York: Basic Books. [RC506.S292 1992]

Following upon his pioneering work first summarized in 1976, Schafer (1992) outlines how the self is narrated, Freud's problems with women and issues of gender, and what an "action" narratively-informed psychoanalytic practice informed by the notion of "action narrative" would look like.

Simon, B. (1980). Mind and madness in ancient Greece: The classical roots of modern psychiatry. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Simon, B. (1988). Tragic drama and the family: Psychoanalytic studies from Aeschylus to Beckett. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Smith, J. H. (Ed.). (1992). Telling facts : History and narration in psychoanalysis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. [RC321.P943 v.13]

Spence, D. P. (1984). Narrative truth and historical truth. New York: W. W. Norton. [RC505.S66 1984]

Freud used the metaphor of an archeological expedition to describe the work of psychoanalysis: at the end of the labor, he believed, the client would reach the "historical" truth which had been buried all along in the unconscious. Spence's seminal work recasts the psychoanalytic endeavor under the metaphor of rhetorical speech in which therapist and patient exchange contrasting interpretations of what is "true" in the patient's past. Gradually the therapist provides the patient with a better story, a more adequate, consistent and convincing narrative.

Spence, D. P. (1986). Narrative smoothing and clinical wisdom. In T. Sarbin (Ed.), Narrative psychology: The storied nature of human conduct (pp. 211-232). New York: Praeger.

Viederman, S. (1979). The analytic space: Meaning and problems. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 5, 45-62.

Wyatt, F. (1986). The narrative in psychoanalysis: Psychoanalytic notes on storytelling, listening, and interpreting. In T. Sarbin (Ed.), Narrative psychology: The storied nature of human conduct (pp. 193-210). New York: Praeger.

Wyse, L. A. (Chair; 1995, December), Rethinking culture and psychoanalysis (Cassette Recording Nos. D-10105-95A and D-10105-95B). Symposium conducted at the 39th Winter Meeting of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis, Cambridge, MA. [Double cassettes available from Audio Transcripts, Ltd., 335 South Patrick Street, Suite 220, Alexandria, VA 22314]

This important symposium was marked by three presentations which take seriously the impact of diversity in cultural development and experience and the challenges offered to the paradigms of psychoanalytic formulation and therapeutic practice. These papers included:

Cohler, B. J. (1995, December). Culture and nuclear conflict: Psychoanalysis and the nuclear family.
Kirschner, S. (1995, December). The religious and romantic origins of psychoanalysis.
Kurtz, S. (1995, December). Toward a cultural reshaping of psychoanalysis: India and beyond.

This symposium was part of a conference held December 7-10, 1995 whose theme was "Is There A Place For Psychoanalysis in Contemporary Culture? Identity, Adaption, Survival". It marks how seriously cultural psychology and narrative perspectives appear to be receiving a hearing by more traditional therapeutic schools. See, too, several other relevant presentations at this conference including Shweder (1995, December) noted among the anthropology resources and Fox-Keller (1995, December) among the resources on self-narrative and identity. Robert LeVine served as the discussant for the presentations.


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When citing this document, you may wish to consider this form for the reference (derived from APA Style [5th ed.])

Hevern, V. W. (2003, May). Psychoanalysis and Depth Psychologies. Narrative psychology: Internet and resource guide. Retrieved [enter date] from the Le Moyne College Web site:

     Narrative Psychology: Internet and Resource Guide
is copyright © 1996-2003 by Vincent W. Hevern, SJ, all rights reserved.

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