As I read the Freud and the Jung and the Winnicott, rejecting quite a lot and thinking so much is dated, so much was true at the time, and some little is everlasting, here is the thread of my thoughts:
Social sciences can call themselves “science” in that they try to make an organized study. I’ll try not to hold against them the lack of much valid scientific method, or how irrelevant so much of their empirical data are.
As we study these hysterical women, with their penis envy, and these castrated males, with their Oedipus complexes, I wonder: did anyone think this stuff applied to non-Westerners?
An 80 year old Chinese woman from a wealthy family… a 35 year old male Afghan who is illiterate, has the Quran memorized, and has been a guerrilla fighter since age 12…a 50 year old Inuit from Dutch Harbor…a 9 year old Yoruba girl…are they going to be psychoanalized the same way? How CAN they be? With such vastly different cultures, values, life experiences…you can’t nail a person into hysteria simply because she’s female, for example, and you also can’t say, “Oh, she’s an ‘X’, she must feel ‘Y’.”
What we need is a reliable way to learn the person.
After we have that, we need to develop a reliable way to diagnose the problem.
From there, we need reliable techniques to alleviate the problem.
Finally, we need ways to train individuals to do self-maintenance.
There are other things on my “want” list, such as parenting processes to create healthy young persons who mature into healthy, self-healing adults, but for now, the abovementioned items would be wonderful.