George Makari

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George Jack Makari is a historian, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst. He serves as Director of The Institute for the History of Psychiatry and their Oskar Diethelm Library[1] at Weill Cornell Medical College, where he is also a Professor.[2] In addition, he is the Director of the Long Term Psychotherapy Clinic, a part of the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic.[2] Makari is best known for his work on transference theory,[3] seduction theory,[4] and the history of psychoanalytic communities.[5] Makari's work has been widely reviewed and is very well known among historians of psychoanalysis, particularly his most sustained treatment of Freudian psychoanalytic communities: Revolution in Mind, The Creation of Psychoanalysis.[6] His most recent work is Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind.


Makari received his bachelor's degree in 1982 from Brown University and his M.D. in 1987 from the Medical College of Cornell University. Makari did his psychiatric residency at Cornell's Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic in Manhattan, and then received a fellowship (De Witt Wallace/Reader's Digest Research Fellow) back at the Department of Psychiatry at Cornell's Medical College. In 1997, Makari completed his psychoanalytic training at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.[2]

Revolution in Mind[edit]

In Revolution in Mind, Makari argues that the creation of psychoanalysis (as both a body of ideas and a movement) can be best understood by focusing on the way psychoanalytics and psychoanalytic communities were created, broken apart, and then rebuilt in the period before World War II. Specifically, Makari declares that early psychoanalytic theory emerged from Sigmund Freud's engagements with French psychopathology, biophysics, psychophysics, and sexology. Accordingly, he writes, Freudian theory was essentially a synthesis, one which quickly drew interest from Freud's contemporaries, many of whom coalesced around him and in the process developed the first psychoanalytic community.[7] However, this community proved fragile.

According to Makari, the period that followed the Nuremberg Congress of 1910 saw a series of schisms, both theoretical and interpersonal, which shattered the Freudian movement and forced early analysts to rethink their work and professional networks. This 'rethinking' resulted in the creation of a variety of new psychoanalytic communities that were more independent of Freud, both conceptually and geographically. These communities placed less emphasis on Freud's personal authority and theories, and instead sought to bind their members with a commitment to shared technique, increased empiricism, and a process of professionalization. Eventually, Makari argues, the rise of fascism led to the destruction of most European psychoanalytic communities, sparking battles for control in the two major psychoanalytic centers that remained: London and New York.[8]


  1. ^ "Oskar Diethelm Library". 
  2. ^ a b c "George Jack Makari, MD: Biography". Weill Cornell Medical College. 
  3. ^ Makari, George J. “A History of Freud's First Concept of Transference," International Review of Psychoanalysis, 19:415-432, 1992; Makari, George J. and Robert Michels, “Transference and Counter-transference," Current Opinions in Psychiatry, 6:358-361, 1993; Makari, George J., “In the Eye of the Beholder: Helmholtz, Post-Kantian Perception and Freud's 1900 Theory of Transference," Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 42:549-580, 1994; Makari, George J., “Dora's Masturbation, Sexology and the Maturation of Sigmund Freud's Theory of Transference, 1897-1905," Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 45: 1061-1096, 1998
  4. ^ Makari, George J., “Towards Defining the Freudian Unconscious: Seduction, Sexology and the Negative of Perversion (1896-1905),” History of Psychiatry 8: 459-486, 1997; Makari, George J., “Between Seduction and Libido: Sigmund Freud’s Masturbation Hypotheses and the Realignment of his Etiologic Thinking (1897-1905),” Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 72: 627-694, 1998; Makari, George J., “The Seductions of History: Sexual Trauma in Freud’s Theory and Historiography,” International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 79:857-870, 1998
  5. ^ See "Entretien avec George Makari: vers une nouvelle histoire de la psychanalyse," Psychiatrie, science humain, neuroscience, 6:1 (2008) pp. 5-8.
  6. ^ Makari, George, J., Revolution in Mind: The Creation of Psychoanalysis (New York: HarperCollins, 2008).
  7. ^ Express Night Out | Arts & Events | Figuring Out Freud: George Makari
  8. ^ For reviews of this book, critical and laudatory, see New York Times, 1/20/08; New York Sun, 1/16/08; Discover Magazine, 3/5/08; The Atlantic Monthly, 5/08; The Guardian, 3/1/08; The Financial Times, 3/29/08; The Australian, 3/29/08; The Australian Book Review, 4/2/08; Literary Review, 4/08; Amer. Journal of Psychotherapy, Winter 2008.

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