Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession
Cover of the first edition
|Publisher||Alfred A. Knopf|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover and Paperback)|
Malcolm discusses the work of a psychoanalyst whom she refers to as "Aaron Green", concealing his real name through the use of a pseudonym. She describes his patients and teaching job at a local medical school, the influence of the psychoanalysts Charles Brenner and Jacob Arlow on his theory and technique, and his dismissal of other trends in psychoanalysis, such as those associated with Jacques Lacan, Otto Kernberg, Heinz Kohut, and Melanie Klein. "Green" reveals much of the inner politics of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, to which he is attached. He also explores the challenges to his brand of ego psychology that were being presented by the British Object relations theory, and by such American figures as Kernberg and Kohut, in the late 20th century.
Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession received a positive review from Joseph Adelson in The New York Times. The book was also reviewed in The Antioch Review by Dianne F. Sadoff and discussed by the journalist Mary-Kay Wilmers in the London Review of Books. Malcolm discussed the book in an interview with the journalist Gaby Wood in The Daily Telegraph.
Adelson credited Malcolm with providing an accurate discussion of psychoanalysis, including "a lucid and accurate account" of its "current doctrinal disputes" and a "a chilling depiction" of its politics as an organized movement. He also believed that she conveyed "the claustral atmosphere of the profession". He concluded that Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession was an "artful book" in which Malcolm showed "a keen eye for the surfaces - clothing, speech and furniture - that express character and social role."
Wilmers described the book as a "very striking" book of reportage.
Scientific and academic journals
Evaluations in books
The historian Peter Gay described Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession as a "witty and wicked" work that had been justly praised by psychoanalysts as "a dependable introduction to psychoanalytic theory and technique" in Freud: A Life for Our Time (1988). He added that it had "the rare advantage over more solemn texts of being funny as well as informative."
- DeVitis, Joseph L. (1984). "Psychoanalysis and Education: An Essay Review of Janet Malcolm's Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession". Journal of Thought. 19 (4).
- Rawn, Moss L. (1988). "Review of Psychoanalysis: The impossible profession". Psychoanalytic Psychology. 5 (1).
- Sadoff, Dianne F. (1982). "Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession". The Antioch Review. 40 (2).
- Wilmers, Mary-Kay (1985). "Fortress Freud". London Review of Books. 7 (7).
- Online articles
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