04/15/2024, 20:08, Vienna  DEUTSCH / ENGLISH

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Leading articles

THE VIENNA PSYCHOANALYST wants to give not only already internationally established psychoanalysts, but also still unknown psychoanalysts the opportunity to post a self-written and not yet published article on the FrontPage of our online magazine!

Our Users then can leave comments, ask questions or discuss the articles in our forum. Our aim is to provide an international platform where for the first time anyone interested in psychoanalysis can exchange ideas on certain topics.
Articles are welcome in German and/ or English.

If you are interested, please send your article to

(For reasons of readability, the male form is used with personal names, however the female form is also always intended.)




In our interview series "in conversation with“, we will briefly present the authors of the leading articles. We want to give our users the opportunity to read the leading article from a different point of view.

This week we are very glad to welcome Daniel Burston from Pittsburgh, U.S.A:

He is an Associate Professor and former chair of the Psychology Department at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He was raised and educated in Toronto, Canada. He received a Hons. B.A. in Political Science from the York University in 1979. He achieved his M.A. in Social & Political Thought at the York University 1981, his Ph.D. in 1985. He also receives a Ph.D. in Psychology at the York University in 1989. He is married with two children. He is the author of numerous books and journal articles on the history of psychology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis, including The Legacy of Erich Fromm, The Wing of Madness: The Life and Work of R.D. Laing, and Erik Erikson and the American Psyche: Ego, Ethics and Evolution.

DWP: What brought you to psychoanalysis?

Daniel Burston: Two things, primarily. One was adolescent curiosity, another was my parent’s bookshelf, which contained volumes by Freud, Anna Freud, John Bowlby, Erich Fromm, Erik Erikson, etc. The fact that several of my parents’ friends were psychologists, psychiatrists or psychoanalysts who were also lively conversationalists probably had some impact as well.

DWP: Have you ever undergone psychoanalysis?

Daniel Burston: No, not as such. However, I have had 3 years of psychodynamic psychotherapy, and supplemented that with extensive dream-journals and self-analysis (before, during and after.)

DWP: If you had the opportunity to talk with Sigmund Freud, what would be the topic?
Are there any specific questions?

Daniel Burston: That is an excellent question – though on reflection, I am sure that the answer differ in each decade of my (adult) life. At this moment – (I am 61) – I would wonder about his ambivalent relationship to Judaism, and his feelings toward contemporary Israel.

DWP: Fabric or leather couch?

Daniel Burston: Sorry, I do not understand the question. Are you asking what kind of couch my psychotherapist used? If so, the answer is fabric.

DWP: According to Bruno Bettelheim and the importance of fairy tales in childhood. Will you tell us your favorite fairy tale? And do you see parallels to your own adult life?

Daniel Burston: H m m m . . . I was fascinated with fairy tales in my twenties, and would probably have had a ready answer then. But the truth is that I haven’t thought much about fairy tales since my own children were young. Right now, I suppose, my favorite children’s tale is The Wizard of Oz. The figures of the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow, representing people who lack courage, heart and judgment are wonderful allegorical figures. You meet them every day. The Wizard himself is a fascinating figure. Once he is caught out in his sham – his self-aggrandizing tricks and posturing – he extricates himself from his embarrassment by conferring worthless degrees (that were completely unearned) on Dorothy’s associates, much like contemporary universities – in North America, at least.

DWP: I dream,….

Daniel Burston: Oh, all sorts of things! (Who doesn’t?)

DWP: What do you find good or particularly good in psychoanalysis and is there anything you do not like about it?

Daniel Burston: The answer to that question depends considerably on whether we are talking about Freudian psychoanalysis or about any of the many contemporary schools. I’ll confine my remarks to Freud and Co.

The “basic rule” of psychoanalysis compels us to be completely open and honest; not every day, or with everyone, of course, but in a safe environment where we can reveal ourselves to ourselves, and to another human being, in confidence. The notion that self-knowledge and relinquishing illusions (about oneself and others) are intrinsically worthwhile – regardless of the nature and severity of symptoms - is very compelling; a direct continuation of the Orphic injunction “Know thyself.”

What I dislike most about orthodox Freudianism is Freud’s frank elitism, and his anti-democratic bias, which surfaces repeatedly in his correspondence with members of his inner circle and in Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego.

DWP: Do you have a favorite Freud - quote?

Daniel Burston: “… in the last resort we must begin to love in order not to fall ill, and we are bound to fall ill if, in consequence of frustration, we are unable to love.” (On Narcissism, 1914.)

DWP:  Are there other psychoanalysts, in addition to Sigmund Freud, who you like to study?

Daniel Burston: Oh yes, plenty. I have written books about Erich Fromm, R.D.Laing, Erik Erikson and most recently, Karl Stern, who was something of an outlier, having never been accredited by the IPA. Nevertheless, he took Freudian theory and technique very seriously in his own practice, and made some important contributions of his own.

Fromm, Erikson and Stern made their names in North America in the forties and fifties. But in the first instance, they were all German-Jewish refugees who fled the Nazi menace between 1933-1935. But I also admire the work of British analysts who knew (or were known to) Ronald Laing, including Ronald Fairbairn, Harry Guntrip, D.W. Winnicott, Charles Rycroft and Peter Lomas.  I’ve also studied a fair bit of Klein, Lacan and their followers.

Thank you very much for this conversation, we are already looking forward to your leading article!

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