April 29, 2012

From Harry M. Anderson:

Re: A human bias against creativity is hindering science, research claims (Dec. 12): I am a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and scientific clinical researcher who entered psychoanalytic training years ago with the assumptions that: its basic and applied theories were rooted in Freud's "Metapsychology" concepts and principles; the theories had been developed by scientific means (multiple hypotheses, validation criteria, tests for predictive capability, etc.); they would be expanded by continued scientific researches. I eventually realized that such was not the case, and I developed new research designs to test them and allow new theories to be created where needed. My efforts were very successful, and over a period of 40-some years I had a comprehensive, genuinely-scientific theory of the symptoms of the psychoanalytic domain. Each piece of research that went into it emerged on the logical heels of the one that preceded, and none were planned. Driven by an energized and purposeful curiosity that was busy making observations of incorrectly-explained and unexplained clinical phenomena and subjecting them to my research methods, the process operated without any idea of what was coming next. I presented the results in conference presentations to members of my analytic Society, critics of the lack of a science of psychoanalysis, and other professional groups in Canada, the US and the UK. And it is what I discovered next that links so clearly to your article.

Logic would have predicted that those who criticized the lack of science and the members of the profession they critiqued would want one. But that was not my experience. Over the years, the responses ranged from total disinterest, to some interest disbelief and dismissal, to anonymous, astoundingly-passionate, subjectively-determined criticism communicated in remarkably-inappropriate language (including ridicule). And that is where I "sat up and listened" as I read your article. That the works of scientists in every generation have been ridiculed before eventually being recognized, is something that deserves intense, extensive and persistent study until the reasons are exposed and solutions can be found. I am presently trying to contribute to such a course myself. I recently published the methods, findings and results of my researches in a book ("From and Art to a Science of Psychoanalysis: The Metapsychological Formulation Method"), set up my own website here, and became psychosociologist of sorts who established a new Linkedin group to study the problem in his field ("Psychoanalysis - A Study of the Resistance to a Science"). I also look forward to sharing the results of my study with others who are working at the problem in the many different areas of creative endeavour.

Thanks very much for the authors of the article, your report on it, and this opportunity to respond to it.

Harry M. Anderson MD D.Psych FRCP


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