Sigmund Freud’s ideas are seen almost everywhere in popular culture. However, a recent article in The American Journal of Psychiatry suggests that most university psychology departments view his theories as obsolete. Their survey of 150 top colleges and universities indicates that of 1,175 courses that referenced psychoanalysis, more than 86% were offered in other departments.
Here is an excerpt from a NY Times article discussing this research:
The primary reason it became marginalized, Ms. Eagly, said, is that while most disciplines in psychology began putting greater emphasis on testing the validity of their approaches scientifically, “psychoanalysts haven’t developed the same evidence-based grounding.” As a result, most psychology departments don’t pay as much attention to psychoanalysis.
Scott Lilienfeld, a professor in the psychology department at Emory University, said, “I don’t think psychoanalysis is going to survive unless there is more of an appreciation for empirical rigor and testing.”
The humanities and social sciences have welcomed psychoanalysis without caveats. But the report complains of the wide gulf between the academic’s and the psychoanalyst’s approach and vocabulary, which has made their respective applications of Freud’s theories virtually unrecognizable to each other.
Scholars in the liberal arts have tended to use Freud as a springboard to examine issues and ideas never dreamt of in his philosophy — like gender studies, post-colonial studies, French postmodernism, Queer theory and so on.