I missed this article from the Guardian when it was first published in 2015, but it is well worth a read. It sets out how Freud’s radical views about the unconscious are being increasingly reaffirmed by new research in neuroscience.
This article reports on a new study analysing the results of brain imagining studies and their usefulness, or otherwise, in determining psychological or emotional states. The study concluded that such use of brain imaging studies was more flawed than had been argued. It found that research bias and holding back of negative data influenced results, and overall that brain imaging was not able to determine and discriminate specific diagnoses.
The study highlights the difficulty in assuming an easy read through between physiological characteristics and emotional states – and the writer of the article concludes that ‘brain scan research is of limited use in explaining the complex psychological states of human beings’.
What is also interesting is that even in the report of the study the writer talks about people who have ‘mental health conditions’ and those who don’t. In fact, what also complicates such physiologically based studies is surely that for all of us, our emotional states may vary radically from moment to moment, day to day. Extremes of experience and entrenched states can be empathised with by those of us who don’t have such enduring extremes because most of us have a hint of them from time to time. We all have ‘mental health conditions’, in this sense.
The case for psychoanalysis
Freud for our Times, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, in December 2016 and January 2017, looks at what psychoanalysis has to offer and what it is about it that is distinctive from other options such as CBT or medication.
View the programme here