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The rise of psychoanalysis in US hospitals: William Alanson White at St. Elizabeths, 1903-1937

El auge del psicoanálisis en los hospitales de EEUU: William Alanson White en St. Elizabeths, 1903-1937


William Alanson White’s views on the function and conceptualization of psychoanalysis shaped the practice of the analytic method in the hospital setting in the United States. Here I explore White’s original work and maintain that his understanding of transference, the unconscious, symbolism, language, and defense mechanisms were rooted in both traditional intrapsychic and individualistically oriented conceptions and influenced by his orientation toward social psychiatry. In line with Progressive Era ideals, White considered the new science of psychoanalysis important for healing both the individual as well as society; this mutual influence helped shape the evolution of psychoanalytic principles and informed the treatment of patients undergoing psychoanalysis at St. Elizabeths Hospital.

history; transference; unconscious; language; defense mechanisms

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