The twist for Psychoanalysts, however, came from superego incorporation of “descriptive” and “neutral” Progressive tautologies by their clients.
Surely, the word “polluter” denotes a polarity that appears to be “descriptive” and “objective”. At the same time, “the person accusing the polluter” is “better (morally superior)” than “the polluter”. But the stance of the accuser does not establish personal responsibility. The accuser does not hold herself responsible for anything. She holds the “polluter” responsible for “pollution”.
Is that not clever? The accuser is morally superior and – at the same time – is not personally responsible for the consequences of her accusation.
So, how does a Psychoanalyst ask the “better person who is making accusations” about her own “self-destructive behaviors” without falling into the same stance that the client held in relation to the “polluter”? Her question commits the analyst to the patient’s superego polarities. Her question imposes a psychoanalytic value judgment on the patient in the same fashion that the patient imposes an “environmental” value judgment on the “polluter”.
Consequently, the patient responds in the same way as a Christian would if the Psychoanalyst asked “Isn’t that sinful?”.
The analyst’s question validates the client’s superego structures.
In short, for Progressives, the patient’s superego structures anticipate analytic methods of psychiatry. The talking cure will not work on Progressives because the Psychoanalyst cannot distance herself from the patient’s own superego. Transference becomes a box that the analyst cannot escape.
My guess is that Menninger was feeling this, along with other patterns that made clinical work difficult. Perhaps, he sensed that – if the client had some notion of personal responsibility – then Psychoanalysis would work better. Maybe, everything in the mental clinics (and prisons) would work better.
Instead, Psychoanalysis has fallen out of vogue during the past 40 years.
In 2012, Menninger would ask: Whatever became of Psychoanalysis?