Lawrence R. Samuel
A Cultural History of Psychoanalysis in America
University of Nebraska Press 2013
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in MedicineNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in PsychoanalysisNew Books in PsychologyNew Books in Science & TechnologyNew Books Network June 20, 2013 Marshall Poe
Before the Second World War, very few Americans visited psychologists or psychiatrists. Today, millions and millions of Americans do. How did seeing a “shrink” become, quite suddenly, a typical part of the “American Experience?” In his fascinating book Shrink: A Cultural History of Psychoanalysis in America (Nebraska University Press, 2013), Lawrence R. Samuel examines the arrival, remarkable growth, and transformation of psychoanalysis in the United States. As Samuel shows, Americans have a kind of love-hate relationship with their “shrinks”: sometimes they love them and sometimes they loath them. The “shrinks” seem to know that their clients are fickle, and so they “re-brand” their technique with some regularity. Sometimes it’s “analysis,” sometimes it’s “therapy,” sometimes it’s just “counseling.” But, regardless of what it’s called, it’s always some variation on the “talking cure” and it can always be traced to Freud.