Roth on Why Freud Still Haunts Us

Writing in The Chronicle of Higher EducationPresident Michael S. Roth reflects on why Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, is still relevant 75 years after his death. Despite many of Freud’s ideas seeming to be of another era, Roth writes:

Freud haunts us. He keeps popping up in places he has no business being. Just when we succeeded in pushing him out of medicine because his brand of the talking cure was inconvenient for insurance and drug companies, he began appearing in college humanities programs, theater, novels, television. A generation ago, he animated Woody Allen’s jokes; more recently, we could find him in the The Sopranos, and today he is all over Mad Men.

And just when it seemed that we could dismiss him (with a laugh) from overly theoretical work by jargon-laden literary scholars, nostalgic noise arose from the psychiatric profession complaining about meds without baseline evaluations, insurance-driven mental-health treatment, and the need for patients to make meaning.