French Ideas in the beginnings of Psychology in Argentina. First, the paper analyzes the intellectual conditions that made possible the emergence of psychological studies in Argentina around and the Argentine's reception of French thought. It will be point out that although laboratories of Experimental Psychology were established in the country since , such laboratories were quite different to laboratories in Germany. First, because laboratories were mainly used for educational purposes, not to produce new psychological knowledge.
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Argentina owns an authentic psychotherapeutic culture, being psychoanalysis its most spread expression, particularly in public-managed universities.
Nevertheless, Argentina lacks of a system to provide appropriate and continuous education for psychotherapists. Argentinian psychotherapy is first described, from around , when psychiatrists and physicians inaugurated and dominated the field, up to , when psychoanalysis, reflexology and existentialism coexisted as clinical perspectives.
The arrival of psychoanalysis at the newly created psychology careers, the professional disputes started by such arrival and the consequent hegemonization of the theory and its therapeutic outlook are emphasized. The period from onwards is detailed, describing institutional and professional developments. The development of systemic, cognitive and integrative approaches is detailed.
Finally, contemporary challenges of the psychotherapy in Argentina are discussed, emphasizing the necessity of a deep debate based on historical and empirical evidence. Argentina is one of the countries with most psychologists in the world. Since , more than , Argentinians have obtained a degree in psychology.
These professionals were the teachers of the first cohorts of Argen-tinian psychologists, and these first cohorts often emulated the professional identity of their mentors without any systematic change Dagfal, ; Ferrari, This took place in a detrimental juridical context, where until the s psychotherapy and psychoanalysis were forbidden by law to non-medical profes-sionals. Defined in such way, psychology entered collective repre-sentations, permeated literary and humanistic circles and soaked Argentinian culture Plot-kin, , reaffirming and legitimizing the alluded narrow and mono-theoretical profes-sionalism.
This phenomenon, correlated with political and institutional instabilities military regimes, enclosement of academia, and an overall can-cellation of isonomic and scientific debates has been maintained until very recently. Nevertheless, the average Argentinian psy-chologist still exclusively perceives his strong-er competences in clinical psychology, while simultaneously undertrained in several key clinical activities like the use of international diagnostic manuals, the confection of psycho-logical reports or the design of test batteries Castro Solano, ; Manzo, There is a great discrepancy between the services that public and private health institutions expect from a professional clinical psychologist, and the services in which the bulk of such profes-sionals is actually trained and thus can pro-vide.
In North-American and Eu-ropean nations, clinical psychology and psy-chotherapy have been historically conceived as government tools for disciplinary purposes Rose, , as technologies for civil adjust-ment Napoli, with considerable amounts of research funding or as shared fields between psychiatrists and psychologists Benjamin Jr.
Even when the proliferation of diverse schools and approaches in psychotherapy has not been a particularity of the Argentinian case, it is possible to identify a significant dif-ference in relation to most occidental coun-tries. The absence of a clear set of rules and regulations determining what licensed psycho-therapists are enabled to do, and thus, what is understood by psychotherapy, has led to the present situation in which a diverse display of self-proclaimed psychotherapeutic practices coexist.
Many of them do not fulfill the prin-ciples established by organizations and interna-tional associations. Applying such reasoning to the Argentinian case, this work aims to historically explaining the aforementioned contemporary peculiarities, thus enabling deliberate reflec-tion, further debates and corrective measures.
We first describe psychotherapy in Argentina since around , when psychiatrists and physicians inaugurated and dominated the field, up to , when psychoanalysis, re-flexology and existentialism coexisted as clini-cal perspectives. We then delve into the period from onwards, when important institutional and professional changes and the reception of previously unacknowledged psychotherapy-research trends stimulated the development of systemic, cognitive and integrative approaches, mostly through private initiatives parallel to public universities psychology education.
We emphasize university and curricular variables in our analysis since most undergraduate teaching of psychology in the last fifty years has remained oblivious to advances regarding scientifically-oriented psychotherapies, greatly contributing to the current state of affairs.
With the aim of providing a coherent narra-tive about the main events that marked the development of Argentinian clinical psycholo-gy and psychotherapy during the XX century, we analyzed several primary and secondary sources in the context of broader philosophical and theoretical debates on clinical psychology and psychotherapy research.
Following recent recommendations on the methodology of his-torical research in psychology Klappenbach, , we first defined our working hypothe-ses: the clinical reading of psychological phe-nomena has been a constant during the XX century in Argentina, but with different theo-retical perspectives and emphasis varying in accordance to differing historical periods and processes.
We then surveyed the existing his-torical scholarship on clinical psychology and psychotherapy in Argentina during the XX century. In order to critically assess secondary sources and to prove or disprove our hypothe-sis, we retrieved and analyzed primary sources on psychology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis significant to our aims, beginning with the turn of the century and up to the s.
After ana-lyzing primary and secondary sources, we summarized and organized the retrieved histor-ical data in three historical periods which we argue define several key issues regarding how clinical psychology was conceived in Argenti-na, which psychological theories dominated such conception, who were some of the main figures that produced conceptual and technical advances in the field, and which were some of the main debates on controversies when un-derstanding —and treating— clinical phenom-ena.
Historiographic issues and psychotherapy in Argentina between and Medical and psychiatric circles. Nevertheless, multiple historical analysis trace back the origins of clinical psychology and psychotherapy to movements such as confes-sional practices, moral treatments and mesmer-ism e. Witmer and his psychological clinic Benjamin Jr. In this context, the danger of presentism or historiographic finalism Dehue, when defining psychotherapy as a mean to guide historical reconstructions is evident.
Since we assume that psychological fields and categories are intrinsically historical Danziger , ; Smith, , we must grant that what we refer as psychotherapy today is not what philosophers and psychiatrists at Buenos Aires in had in mind when using the same term. Retrieval from histori-ography always implies epistemological and theoretical standpoints, as well as previous definitions Weimer, Social historiog-raphy of science Danziger, ; Shapin, ; Sokal, , albeit historicist-minded and critical of linear, backwards historical writ-ing, conceives that definitions product of so-cio-professional, institutional or disciplinary agents —in contrast with theoretical, abstract or purely conceptual definitions— can fruitful-ly structure historical reconstructions.
Nevertheless, defined as a clinical prac-tice linked to psychic maladies and carried on by physicians through the so-called moral medicine, psychotherapy as a discipline began in Argentina around , when a marked proliferation of public and private psychiatric institutions started to sprout parallel to an equal proliferation of works and theses on mental pathologies Ingenieros, 1 ,.
Hospitals, asylums and medical wards were the key agents in the treatment of mental illnesses until approximately in Argentina. In , for example, the first two public asylums for de-mented people were created in south Buenos Aires. In the wake of the proliferation of asylums, colonies for the insane and hospitals in Argen-tina started by Domingo Cabred another Ar-gentinian doctor around , private institu-tions with psychotherapeutic aims and meth-odologies also began to appear Ingenieros, 2 ,.
The Hospital de Alienadas was later renamed as Hospicio de las Mercedes Mercedes Hospice as a tribute to the saint of the crazy and the delinquent Vilanova a. This last point is very significant to the pe-riod here analyzed. Thus, matters constitutive to the so-cial question, often of criminal nature, were perceived and defined as objects of psycho-therapeutic psychological and psychiatric intervention Ingenieros, ; Rossi, ; Talak, ; Vezzetti, The rationale of such interventions can be explained through the theoretical and praxeo-logical groundings of physicians and psychia-trists.
For example, therapy received by women often prescripted praying and included the promotion of virtue and do-mestic manual abilities, while insane men were incited by the therapist to imitate the move-ments, behavior and attitudes of the urban, cult man. On the one hand, certain scholars adhered to racism, evolutionism and hereditary degeneration theories in the form of a Darwinian, bio-sociological determinism. On the other hand, certain scholars accepted biological, congenital con-ceptions of mental diseases but combined them with ambientalist, exogenous and toxico-logical etiologies and nosographies.
The naturalism and positivism espoused by these psychotherapists emphasis —in a clear broad sense— was in Argentina a true state policy, and at the same time the ideology of both the dominant governmental elite and social, politi-cal and medical scientists, who embraced the doctrines by Spencer, Smith, Comte and Ben-tham Klappenbach, a; Talak, , ; Vilanova, , Such theoretical outlooks were often based in empirical sometimes experimental replica-tions of clinical phenomena, such as hysteria, hallucinatory psychoses, suggestion and social aggressivity among others.
It could be stated that the whole intel-lectual context of Argentinian psychotherapy between and was permeated by a naturalist-materialist, medical and sometimes sociological conception of psychopathological phenomena. The treatment of mental illnesses through verbal and nonverbal means, although identified as psychotherapy, was an exercise exclusive by law to physicians and psychia-trists, and towards it had been consoli-dated as incumbency of the medical field Klappenbach, a.
The latent positivism, naturalism and scien-tism in most of these authors and institutions was greatly revised by the so-called anti-positivistic reaction: A movement that flour-ished around the s marked by philosophi-cal, vitalist and phenomenological orientations channeled through scholars like Alejandro Korn and Coriolano Alberini Klappenbach, b, ; Vilanova, , b.
As a movement with axiological and humanistic concerns, this reaction philosophically and metaphysically redefined psychological knowledge-claims and, hence, psychothera-peutic outlooks and approaches. Especially after the s, in Ar-gentina:. Psychology was a part of philosophy in a classical sense that excluded empirical stud-ies.
The development of forms of philoso-phy near to existentialism or thomism, were epistemological obstacles to the new models of psychology developed principally in the United States, where technical intervention on human behavior was the main goal Klappenbach, b, p.
Clinical psychology between philosophy and positivism: Professionalization of psychology and the psychoanalytic redefinition of psy-chotherapy. Three schools of psychotherapy condensed in Argentina towards psychodynamic, psychiatry and pedagogy, objective psycho-therapy rooted in Russian reflexology, and —from onwards— phenomenological psy-chotherapy Bermann, Pavlov, Bekhterev and existential analysts like Moss and Binswanger never truly constituted a systematic alternative to Freudian doctrines.
The reception of psychoanalysis in Argen-tinian medical and philosophical circles was an early one. Since around , Freudian doc-trines began to infuse the thought of Argentini-an professionals Vezzetti, , mainly through secondary sources from French schol-ars. Many psychiatrists in Buenos Aires began to incorporate psychoanalysis to their theories —mostly somatic explanations of mental ill-nesses—, crafting an uneasy alliance between orthodox, Freudian psychoanalysis and heter-odox vernacular explanations of medical phenomena Plotkin, a.
Since many of these scholars taught psychology courses, psychoanalysis was soon included in their teachings Rossi, , espe-cially in the University of Buenos Aires UBA. Thus, began a slow incorporation of psychoanalysis into Argentinian scientific, cultural and even literary circles. By the s, Freud was relatively well known by health-related professions, especially in psychiatry, the discipline that took advantage of the lack of professional psychologists and quickly claimed exclusive legal rights to psychotherapy Bermann, 4 ,.
Nevertheless, it was with the local institu-tionalization of psychoanalysis that the influ-ence of Freudian doctrines in Argentina expe-rienced a process of accelerated progressive and systematic expansion and diffusion. The Argentinian Psychoanalytic Association APA was founded in , well before any psy-chology-related professional institution or as-sociation, fifteen years before the first local psychology university degree, and was recog-nized officially in by the International Psychoanalytic Association.
According to multiple historical anal-yses Braakmann, ; Cautin, ; Vila-nova, , b , the s were marked, especially in the United States, by the gradual appearance of controlled research on clinical processes and, in a broad sense, of empirical research in psychotherapy.
These works and their philosophical and epistemological foun-dations would have been the necessary back-ground for a steady reception of international works on clinical psychology and psychother-apy research.
Nevertheless, starting around , experimental, laboratory and overall empirical psychological research in Argentina slowly began to diminish or, in more precise terms, to languish after laboratory closures 5 ,, professor relocations and an agitated political and institutional life that often interrupted the course of university affairs Dagfal, ; Rossi, ; Vilanova , c 6 ,.
As referenced earlier, such reaction represented an epistemological obstacle to the reception of non-philosophically oriented psychologies, as behaviorism and humanism. According to Argentinian phenomenolo-gists, thomists and existentialists as Korn and Alberini, the soul was driven by collective, unconscious axiologies, and psychopatholo-gies were mostly volitive, spiritual or meta-physical.
Between and , when Al-berini occupied the psychology chair that had been previously taught by the naturalist, posi-tivist-minded Ingenieros at the UBA between and , such Germanic humanism and subjectivism impregnated psychology and psy-chotherapy-related matters Plotkin, b. During the following decade, the first fourteen careers in the country were organized: Six in national public management universities, six in national private management universities and two in provincial educational institutions Klappenbach, The curricular programs of these careers were developed from the be-ginning in a context characterized by the pre-dominance of the medical and psychoanalytic field.
Hence, such hegemony stimulated a clin-ical, professionalist bias to the detriment of other application areas such as research or education and other theoretical orientations such like humanism, behaviorism or cogni-tivism. While theoretical alternatives to psychoanaly-sis in Argentina towards the did un-doubtedly exist Kohan, a; Saforcada, , psychoanalysis was the theory that permeated most debates before, during and after the professionalization.
International theoretical issues, or advances in basic and applied re-search were thus necessarily occluded. Regarding psychoanalysts, their inclusion to university chairs was a consequence of contracts made between the APA —a private institution unreg-ulated by the state— and several universities Horas, ; Kohan, At a pedagogical con-crete level, what students often found was the caricature, demonization and ideologization of empirical, hypothetic-deductive research in general Kohan, b 7 ,.
At an applied level, what they found was a professionalist, reduc-tively-clinical and outdated model of psychol-ogy Saforcada, In terms of Vilanova :. Faculty was also precari-ous since instead of hiring international scholars to fill university chairs, appointed professors belonged to other disciplines, lacked of real identification with psycho-logical science, and were poorly informed about it.
The absence of research resources and the mentioned scientific disidentifica-tion allowed the installation of a verbalist and speculative tradition, centered on clini-cal judgments and initiation rites. In such setting, clinical psychoanalysis soon overshadowed other psychological alterna-tives, both theoretical humanism and reflex-ology, in particular and professional voca-tional guidance and psychotechnics, for exam-ple Klappenbach, ; Moreno, Certain disciplinary ones revolved around which professionals were to be allowed to conduce it: Psychiatrists, psychoanalysts or psychologists.
Most debates, carried out by the first two stronger, older pro-fessions, considered psychologists unable to conduct clinical psychology Klappenbach, , ; Dagfal, Here, research essentially meant treatment, furthering the confusion between controlled investigation and clinical practice.
Nevertheless, towards there still existed considerable medical opposition to granting psychologists the right of conducting psychotherapy Brignardello, Other related controversies involved defin-ing if psychologists were auxiliaries of psychi-atrists —thus unable of conducting treat-ments— or were autonomous, scientifically-based professionals that could carry out clini-cal and non-clinical activities alike. Here again, until the s psychologists were considered as appendices of the medical profession, and thus were legally unable to conduct psycho-therapies, although most graduates did so con-trary to what was stipulated by professional and legal regulations Vilanova, Influ-ential psychiatrists demanded the subsuming of non-somatic therapeutic treatments that is, psychotherapy in medical sciences Bermann, 8 ,.
This was recognized even by certain psychia-trists, whose surveys showed that in Argentina hypnotism, suggestion, zen-Buddhism, pastoral psychotherapy, spiritism and curanderism passed as psychotherapies, and were cultivated by many physicians Bermann, Never-theless, Freudian and Kleinian psychoanalysis were clearly the most known and applied psy-chotherapies, by far surpassing the second, main psychotherapy in Argentina towards the s: a peculiar and eclectic mix of Pavlovi-an, politzerian and dialectical doctrines with neurophysiological bases and environmental, adaptive aims, called rational psychotherapy Etchegoyen, And while by the s individual psychotherapy had begun to be con-tested by other forms of clinical psychology —mainly group and family psychotherapy—, such alternatives were often of psychoanalytic nature Macchioli, b.
To-wards , non-partisan, eclectic and general overviews of psychotherapy as a field had been effectively available in Spanish for at least 20 years. What seems missing in local authors towards the s is the notice of international, empirical, research-based ad-vances on clinical psychology and psychother-apy which were published in books and, espe-cially from onwards, took the form of limited, concrete investigations published in specific, international journals.
Nevertheless, since psy-chologists were trained in psychoanalysis at the universities, and since psychotherapy had been monopolized by psychoanalysts and psy-chiatrists, APA-members, who simultaneously were professors, dissuaded students from pur-suing clinical psychology as a professional enterprise, while at the same time pressed the same students to undertake personal analysis with the aim of improving their training.
Developing such idea, another influential psychoanalyst at psy-chology careers, while detailing the personal prerequisites for any psychotherapist, further stated that.
The psychotherapist is —must be— some-one who, as humanly possible, has come to know himself in his most intimate and hid-den springs, who has successfully over-come his neurotic conflicts
Paris Buenos Aires by Dagfal Alejandro
The Transnational Unconscious pp Cite as. Melanie Klein — was the first analyst who managed to construct an original system of thought, contesting many Freudian principles, without being forced to leave the psychoanalytic movement. This chapter deals with the strange ways in which her theories were easily transmitted from London to Buenos Aires, in the late s and the early s, whereas she had to wait until for her first book to be translated into French. They were European immigrants installed in South America, who succeeded to build unexpected bridges between the Old and the New Worlds. In this process, as we shall see, the role played by their wives — who became analysts as well — was also very significant. Unable to display preview.
ISBN 13: 9789501242676
He stopped counting only when he noticed that he was running short of fingers. We try a bit of this and a bit of that before eventually arriving at the right fit. Indeed, Argentines often manage a smile upon hearing that psychoanalysis has been on the wane in the United States and other countries, rivaled by treatments that offer shorter-term and often cheaper results than years invested in sessions of soul-searching. Even as Argentines grapple with high inflation and an economic slowdown, many seem to know precisely what they want at least in one area of their lives : psychoanalysis, and plenty of it.