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Final Analysis: The Making and Unmaking of a Psychoanalyst [Hardcover]

Jeffrey Masson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 Jan 1991
He was the rising star of psychoanalysis, an intimate associate of Anna Freud and Kurt Eissler, a member of the Freudian “inner circle” with unrestricted access to the Freud Archives. And then Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson threw it all away because he dared to break the psychoanalytic community’s deepest taboo: he told the truth in public. As he unmasks the pretensions and abuses of this elite profession, Masson invites us to eavesdrop on the shockingly unorthodox analysis he was subjected to in the course of his analytic training. But the more prestige Masson attained, the more he came to doubt not only the integrity of his colleagues, but the validity of their method. In the end, he blew the whistle–fully aware of the personal and professional consequences.

With wit, wonder, and unflinching candor, Masson brilliantly exposes the cult of psychoanalysis and recounts his own self-propelled fall from grace. A sensation when it first appeared, Final Analysis is even more provocative and engrossing today. Written with passion and humor, this is the book that revealed a revered profession for what it was–and launched Masson on his true career.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley Longman Publishing Co; 1st Edition edition (1 Jan 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 020152368X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201523683
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,871,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Unsuitable candidates for Medical Professions 7 Mar 2014
By Anthony
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Final Analysis certainly appears to be authentic truthful account as it is very credible - the author has common sense - a trait some people have and some do not - unfortunately the medical professions contain a lot of academics with little or no common sense, emotional intelligence empathy and or understanding. It is time to realise that academic intelligence - essentially memory ability - does not correlate with common sense, social intelligence, empathic intelligence and understanding - no more than it does with musical intelligence. If medicine wasn't given the high esteem that it is given then unsuitable candidates wouldn't be drawn to it. There are numerous wholly unsuitable low empathy ASD spectrum persons, (usually high academic achievers) and Narcissists (self-centred incapable of empathy for others) in medicine. Also the overly compliant, revering of authority types with no mind of their own, who are unable and or unwilling to act on their own common sense - essentially schoolchild adults.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Is The One That Should Be Famous 15 Jan 2005
By A reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Like many other people, and despite having serious doubts about psychotherapy myself, I was put off by the pamphleteering tone and over-comprehensiveness of "Against Therapy". In this book, Masson reveals the reasons behind "Against Therapy", which are very sound indeed. The ways in which absolute power can corrupt a therapist absolutely are made crystal clear, and are shown most convincingly by this highly intelligent and lucid first-person narrative. It is unsurprising that Masson should have been put off therapy completely by his experiences, and a pity, as his intelligence and dedication would have made him a great reformer.
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT 28 Jan 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Anyone even remotely associated with analysis, as either a patient, friend of a patient, or an analyst himself, should read this very informative and fascinating book. Clear and well-written, Masson does a wonderful job of exposing the clique of therapists who get rich by deceiving their patients, pretending to care and asserting knowledge they simply don't possess. A very engrossing book that explores a heretofore closed society.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully written expose of a cult... 2 Mar 2010
By e. verrillo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It might come as a shock to some readers to discover what goes on in the dark halls of psychoanalysis, but anyone with long experience in psychology will feel thoroughly vindicated after reading Final Analysis. Dr. Masson, a highly trained practitioner, is certainly not the first to point out that psychoanalysts (and psychiatrists) are a cult. The only reason we don't hear more from those members who have been "defrocked," as Peter Breggin puts it, is that, like a cult, its adherents still worship the "master" even after they've left the sphere of his control.

The "master", of course, is Sigmund Freud, a man who referred to psychoanalysis as "die Sache" ("the cause") and garnered unquestioning loyalty among his disciples. The profound secrecy which characterized the workings of the inner circle, a select group to whom Freud gave engraved rings in a rather Tolkeinesque gesture, is something that has been perpetuated to this day. The machinations, jealousies and utter irrationality (how ironic!) of this small coterie makes for some fascinating reading, as does the account of Dr. Masson's encounters with Freud's heir and devotee, his daughter Anna.

I think that what impressed me most about this memoir was not Masson's meteoric fall from grace--somewhat like Icarus, he flew too near the sun--but his candid description of Anna Freud. This was a woman who was clearly obsessed with her father. Anna, a woman who "gave off an aura of physical coldness," never married or had children. When her father lay dying of cancer, she replaced her mother in Freud's sickroom, becoming, in effect, his surrogate wife. The fact that Freud psychoanalyzed Anna accentuates the strangeness of their relationship. (Imagine spending an hour every day describing your sexual fantasies to your father, and having him analyze them. Perhaps there was a good reason why the seventy-year-old Anna kept her bedroom filled with stuffed animals.) Unfortunately, the unnaturalness of Freud's family relations not only permeated Freud's life and writing, but infused itself into the entire belief system that is Freud's legacy.

After reading Dr. Masson's account, I would like to believe that psychoanalysis is on its way out. After a century of causing untold harm to thousands of women (including Marilyn Monroe) it deserves to fade into obscurity--along with EST and Primal Scream and all the other psych fads. Given the broad array of mental health practitioners nowadays, there is certainly more of a choice as to what kind of therapy a person can seek. Unfortunately, the idea that it's "all in your head" is one that persists, and desperate, despairing people who seek help are still regularly mistreated, ignored and dismissed by those who should know better.
25 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful expose! An eye opener. 23 Oct 1998
By abar@majestic.net.au - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Reading Masson's book, I was reminded time and again of the injustices and psychological abuse I experienced whilst undergoing Social Work training a number of years ago.
"Final Analysis", together with Masson's other treasures - "Against Therapy" and "Assault on Truth" provide, in my view, an accurate insight into the arrogance, self-righteousness and pretense to knowledge and care that often occurs both behind the scenes and quite openly in the world of Psychotherapy.
One of the better books I have read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing revelations 4 Jun 2014
By David - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Dr. Masson chose to become a psychoanalyst for idealistic reasons, and he refused to give in to the pressures of the union - or guild or secret brotherhood, or whatever you might call the psychoanalytical profession at that time (early 1970s). He thought he was joining a group of open-minded intellectuals, but instead he discovered that his colleagues were provincial, unethical (it was ok to sleep with your patients - even something to brag about) and anything but open-minded. Freud's word, whatever he wrote, was followed as the word of God, no challenges or revisions allowed. The rivalries were also something to behold. The description of Anna Freud and Masson's adventures in the Freud home are fascinating.
Of course Masson was drummed out of the profession, lost his jobs with Freud archives and the copyright group. He always seemed grossly or at least faintly surprised at the hostile reaction by colleagues to his assertions and the papers he delivered, even to the end, so one has to wonder why he didn't wise up. He doesn't sound bitter, but no doubt he was, and no one in the profession comes off very well, so the reader should approach some of Masson's judgments with skepticism. Still, this is a confessional book and Masson seems to have tried to bare all, with as much honesty as someone who believes in the power of self-analysis.
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