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Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
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Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson 1941- was a Sanskrit specialist who trained as a psychoanalyst in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. During his training he became close friends with the distinguished psychoanalyst Kurt Eissler and later became acquainted with Anna Freud, Sigmund Freud's daughter, both members of psychoanalysis' inner circle. His psychanalytic practice was not very successful but, based on his friendship with Eissler, he moved in the highest circles of psychoanalysis. He learned German and specialized in the history of psychoanalysis and was briefly Project Director of the Sigmund Freud Archives.

Masson, after gaining access to Freud's correspondence, took the position that Freud, in order to advance the cause of psychoanalysis, had developed the theory that childhood reports of sexual abuse were fantasy, despite much actual abuse. See Sandor Ferenczi. Word of his controversial position reached the New York Times, and when Masson had been interviewed by a reporter, his theories were published in the Times 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. These events are described in Janet Malcolm's book In The Freud Archives.

Lately he has written several successful books on the emotional life of animals.

Masson's Books

External links

The subsequent story of Massonís sensational claims concerning Freudís alleged suppression of his finding widespread childhood sexual abuse among his patients provides a very different picture to that outlined above. Close reading of Massonís account of the seduction theory in his best-selling book *The Assault on Truth* by Freud historians unsympathetic to psychoanalysis reveals that it is full of errors and misapprehensions. Contemporary documents, including Freudís publications throughout the 1890s and his letters to Wilhelm Fliess, demonstrate that his patients did not come to him with reports of sexual abuse in infancy, as Freud was to later claim. Rather he attempted to impose a preconceived theory (that psycho-neuroses result exclusively from unconscious memories of sexual abuse in very early childhood) on his patients and claimed one hundred percent success by the use of his new technique for analytically reconstructing unconscious ideas in the minds of his patients. Massonís account of Freudís supposed ostracism by his colleagues is similarly refuted by the historical researches of Freud scholars, published well before Massonís book. Some of the material that refutes Massonís story can be found on the following websites:

http://www.butterfliesandwheels.com/articleprint.php?num=10

http://www.human-nature.com/esterson/index.html