List of essential writings in Psychoanalysis


Given as factual and conflictive, psychoanalysis is a science. A science from which knowledge and experience are essential to all psychiatrists. Whether currently in training or already in practice, and independent of the path that psychoanalysis has followed in the various countries, this science has been both neglected and underestimated.

It therefore appears important to provide concrete suggestions to all mental health professionals, in or out of training, in order to improve this situation.

Amongst all the training tools, by far the most expedient, the simplest and the least costly to put into effect is a well defined reading program of certain essential writings.

The next step is to provide annotations to these readings, yet a more refined method.

We devised the following step-wise approach for it is simple, efficient and easy to implement.

First, we recommend a specific list of short but essential writings. This list will need to be widely diffused. Secondly, we would increase the number of reading groups around this list. The members of the Section will be available to those who want to organise such groups for any technical advise they may need. Third phase is the publication of a book , currently in the writing, with certain annotations to facilitate the reading.


A. The list of selected works was submitted, reviewed and elaborated by members of the WPA Section on Psychoanalysis in Psychiatry (PIP). It is a restricted list which attempted to narrow down to the most essential and fundamental works, and is thereby limited and probably incomplete. To begin was the most important.

B. Only classic texts were chosen. Texts that are available in the world principal languages. They were chosen for their specific interest to psychiatrists. Our readers with psychoanalytic training will already be familiar with them, it seems however important even for them to reread those texts with a psychiatric perspective.

C. We are convinced that The List will, with everybody’s help, need (to amend this list) not to be improved but to complete it with future lists of contemporary authors, even thematic lists by age group, by practice, by clinical guidelines, etc. We are counting, amongst other, on the reports from the reading groups set up for the purpose of completing these lists.

THE LIST March 2003

  • BION, W. R. Brazilian lectures (1974) Rio de Janeiro, Imago Editoria, reprinted in London by Karnac Press: Sao Paulo 1973 lecture VI
  • FERENCZI, Sandor. The confusion of tongues between adults and children; in Final contributions to the problems and methods of psychoanalysis. London, Karnac Books, 1980, pp. 156-167
  • FREUD, Anna. Mechanisms of defense, Chapter 4 in The ego and the mechanisms of defense. New-York, International Universities Press, 1946
  • FREUD, Sigmund Introductory lectures and parapraxes (1916) in Introductory lectures on psychoanalysis. Standard Edition, London, Hogarth Press, vol 15-16/24, part 1 (1953-1974)
  • FREUD, Sigmund in Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety. Standard Edition, London, Hogarth Press, pp. 75-174, Chapter II
  • KLEIN, Melanie. Early stages of the Oedipus conflict in Contributions to psychoanalysis. London, Hogarth Press,1928
  • LACAN, Jacques The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I , in Ecrits : a selection. New York, W.W. Norton, 1982
  • WINNICOTT, D. W. The Capacity to be alone (1958) in Collected Papers Through paediatrics to psychoanalysis. London, Tavistock, 1958


Small groups of people interested in contributing to The List, will meet at regular intervals. It should be rather easy to find, or to photocopy the texts of The List, in the various languages for those groups. We then expect that the leaders of the groups report back to the WPA via the PIP web site, their impressions, thoughts and comments of the members of their group.


The book of analysis of those texts, sponsored by the WPA, will be available as early as the end of 2004 in French, and as soon as possible thereafter in other languages. The PIP site will keep posted any current agreements reached with various international editors.




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