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A Basic Theory of NeuropsychoanalysisA Cursing Brain?A Dream of Undying FameA Map of the MindAfter LacanAgainst AdaptationAgainst FreudAn Anatomy of AddictionAnalytic FreudAndré Green at the Squiggle FoundationAnger, Madness, and the DaimonicAnna FreudAnna Freud: A BiographyApproaching PsychoanalysisAttachment and PsychoanalysisBadiouBecoming a SubjectBefore ForgivingBerlin PsychoanalyticBetween Emotion and CognitionBeyond GenderBeyond SexualityBeyond the Pleasure PrincipleBiology of FreedomBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBuilding on BionCare of the PsycheCarl JungCassandra's DaughterCherishmentConfusion of TonguesContemporary Psychoanalysis and the Legacy of the Third ReichCrucial Choices, Crucial ChangesCulture and Conflict in Child and Adolescent Mental HealthDarwin's WormsDesert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974)Dispatches from the Freud WarsDoes the Woman Exist?Doing Psychoanalysis in TehranDreaming and Other Involuntary MentationDreaming by the BookEnergy 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Floyd ArchivesIntimaciesIntimate RevoltIrrationalityIs Oedipus Online?Jacques LacanJacques Lacan and the Freudian Practice of PsychoanalysisJung and the Making of Modern PsychologyJung Stripped BareKilling FreudLacanLacanLacanLacan and Contemporary FilmLacan at the SceneLacan For BeginnersLacan in AmericaLacan TodayLacan's Seminar on AnxietyLawLearning from Our MistakesLove's ExecutionerMad Men and MedusasMale Female EmailMelanie KleinMemoirs of My Nervous IllnessMental SlaveryMind to MindMixing MindsMoral StealthMourning and ModernityMovies and the MindMurder in ByzantiumNew Studies of Old VillainsNocturnesNoir AnxietyOn Being Normal and Other DisordersOn BeliefOn IncestOn Not Being Able to SleepOn the Freud WatchOn the Way HomeOpen MindedOpera's Second DeathOvercoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and BehaviorsPhenomology & Lacan on Schizophrenia, After the Decade of the BrainPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPractical Psychoanalysis for Therapists and PatientsPsychiatry, 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WorldThe Brain, the Mind and the SelfThe Cambridge Companion to LacanThe Challenge for Psychoanalysis and PsychotherapyThe Clinical LacanThe Colonization Of Psychic SpaceThe Condition of MadnessThe Couch and the TreeThe Cruelty of DepressionThe Dissociative Mind in PsychoanalysisThe Dreams of InterpretationThe Examined LifeThe Fall Of An IconThe Freud EncyclopediaThe Freud FilesThe Freud WarsThe Fright of Real TearsThe Future of PsychoanalysisThe Gift of TherapyThe Heart & Soul of ChangeThe Knotted SubjectThe Last Good FreudianThe Late Sigmund FreudThe Letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto RankThe Mind According to ShakespeareThe Mystery of PersonalityThe Mythological UnconsciousThe Neuropsychology of the UnconsciousThe New PsychoanalysisThe Power of FeelingsThe Psychoanalytic MovementThe Psychoanalytic MysticThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Puppet and the DwarfThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy 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Every so often a brilliant idea comes along that falls victim to a less than adequate exploration. Dr. Arthur Epsteins book, Dreaming and Other Involuntary Mentation: an Essay on Neuropsychiatry, fits this description. Epsteins valiant attempt to link the fields of neurology and psychodynamic thought lacks the substance to construct the actual bridge between the chasm which separates the fields. Although they are inherently linked by the nature of their common denominator, the brain, Epsteins assertions force the critical reader to imagine a bridge. While the book was disappointing, the process of generating new ideas and interests has value in itself. Albert Einstein stated, "Imagination is more important than knowledge," and imagination is Epsteins saving grace.
Based on the concept of neural networks and reinforcing certain pathways in the brain, Epstein extrapolates dream interpretations from the phenomena of seizures. Unfortunately, his approach is self-serving. Being the former President of the Society of Biological Psychiatry as well as former President of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis does not give a scientist, even with the best reputation, permission to make statements of fact without the data to back up his assertions. This is reminiscent of Dr. Susan Vaughans work, The Talking Cure: The Science Behind Psychotherapy, (reviewed in Metapsychology April 1999). Her work takes a similar, grasping at straws approach, in trying to link psychoanalytic psychotherapy to neurological mechanisms. Again, while the principles may indeed be true, the data is not available to prove them. This type of reckless approach does a disservice to the field of mental health, which is already handicapped by its perceived lack of scientific rigor. Science is not based on anecdotes like, "I once had this patient that had this dream."
Sadly, it seems that Dr. Epstein has neared the end of an illustrious career marked by leadership in the field of psychiatry. This was to be his legacy. Unfortunately, his legacy may be marred by his being too optimistic. Psychiatry in not at the point of a truly integrated approach to the patient, but the field is headed in that direction. As time goes on and more data is collected and properly analyzed, psychiatrists may look back and say, "Dr. Epstein had it right to begin with." That day is a long time in the coming. In the mean time, we will have to be satisfied with the facts at hand.
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