Assessment | Biopsychology | Comparative | Cognitive | Developmental | Language | Individual differences | Personality | Philosophy | Social |
Methods | Statistics | Clinical | Educational | Industrial | Professional items | World psychology |

Professional Psychology: Debating Chamber · Psychology Journals · Psychologists


Dr. Jeffrey Masson

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (born 1941 as Jeffrey Lloyd Masson) is a Sanskrit specialist, holding a Ph.D. in Sanskrit and Indian Studies from Harvard University. He also was trained as a psychoanalyst in Toronto, Canada, where he completed a full clinical training programm at the Toronto Psychoanalytic Institute from 1970 to 1978. During his training, he became close friends with the psychoanalyst Kurt Eissler, and later became acquainted with Anna Freud, Sigmund Freud's daughter. He served for one year as projects director of the Sigmund Freud Archives but was dismissed amid controversy over his critical analysis of Freud's motives. He currently writes on a wide range of subjects, perhaps most successfully on animal rights philosophy. He is an author.

Life and workEdit

Masson was earmarked by an elderly Eissler to succeed him as the director of the Sigmund Freud Archives in the event of his, and Anna Freud's, death: one of the highest positions for an analyst in psychoanalytic circles. In the meantime Masson learned German, specialized in the history of psychoanalysis and was appointed projects director of the Freud Archives.

After gaining access to Freud's correspondence, Masson elaborated the hypothesis that, in order to advance the cause of psychoanalysis, and in part to maintain his own place within the psychoanalytic inner circle, Freud had rejected his so-called seduction theory, that childhood reports of sexual abuse were real, and that Freud developed instead the theory that many, if not most, of such reports were fantasy. [1]

As Masson recounts in Final Analysis, word of his controversial position reached the New York Times. After Masson was interviewed by a reporter named Ralph Blumenthal, his theories were published in the newspaper in 1981 to the dismay of the psychoanalytic establishment. Shortly thereafter he was removed from his job as project director of the Freud Archives, and he left the psychoanalytic organizations he belonged to and wrote several books critical of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and psychiatry. He wrote a quite critical autobiographical book about a guru who had named himself Paul Brunton: My Father's Guru: A Journey Through Spirituality and Disillusion, too.

In psychoanalytical circles there has been significant criticism of Masson's hypothesis about Freud's alleged suppression of abuse. [2] On the other hand, and contrary to the popular view, Masson has argued that Freud did not grasp the nature of psychological trauma.

Lately Masson has written several books on the emotional life of animals. When Elephants Weep has been translated into twenty languages. At one time he was engaged to Catharine A. MacKinnon, who wrote the preface to A Dark Science. He is now married to Leila Rubina Masson, a pediatrician from Berlin, and living in New Zealand after residing in Berkeley, California for some time.

Masson's books Edit

  • The Oceanic Feeling: The Origins of Religious Sentiment in Ancient India (1980)
  • The Peacock's Egg: Love Poems from Ancient India (Paperback) by W. S. Merwin (Editor), J. Moussaieff Masson (Editor) ISBN 0-86547-059-6 (1981)
  • Masson, J. (1984) The Assault on Truth: Freud's Suppression of the Seduction Theory. New York: Farrar. Strauss & Giroux.
  • He edited <cite>The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess, 1887-1904.
  • A Dark Science: Women, Sexuality and Psychiatry in the Nineteenth Century
  • Against Therapy: Emotional Tyranny and the Myth of Psychological Healing.
  • Final Analysis: The Making and Unmaking of A Psychoanalyst, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., 1990, ISBN 0-201-52368-X.
  • My Father's Guru: A Journey Through Spirituality and Disillusion, Addison-Wesley (1993), ISBN 0-201-56778-4
  • Dogs Never Lie About Love: Reflections on the Emotional World of Dogs
  • When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Life of Animals
  • The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals
  • The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats: A Journey Into the Feline Heart
  • <cite>The Emperors Embrace Reflections on Animal Families and Fatherhood
  • <cite>The Evolution of Fatherhood: A Celebration of Animal and Human Families (Paperback)
  • <cite>Lost Prince : The Unsolved Mystery of Kaspar Hauser
  • <cite>Slipping into Paradise: Why I live in New Zealand ISBN 0-345-46634-9

Further readingEdit

  • Esterson, A. (2002) The myth of Freud's ostracism by the medical community in

1896-1905: Jeffrey Masson's assault on truth, History of Psychology, 5(2). 115-34.

External links Edit

Interviews Edit