“Wild” Psychoanalysis as a Therapeutic Approach in 1960s Iran: A View from a Translator’s Commentary

Document Type : Original Article


Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of Maragheh, Maragheh, Iran


This essay is a critical reading of a preface by an Iranian translator, Mahmud Nava’i, to his translation of a Freudian text. Drawing on the idea of “wild” analysis defined by Freud in 1910 as inappropriate psychoanalysis, the paper attempts to compare Freud’s idea to the translator’s commentary on Freudian psychoanalysis. It demonstrates how an inquisitive, if not erroneous, interpretation of psychoanalysis could result in an embodiment of wild analysis in Iran. Although psychoanalysis was not embraced in Iran as a psychotherapeutic method in the 1960s, such understandings of the method could play into the hands of the detractors of Freud, both in religious and Leftist quarters, who took Freudianism as a threat to Muslim morals and Marxist outlooks, respectively. Also, translating Freud’s theories into the Persian language cannot constitute an essential element in psychotherapy because this type of therapy cannot be learned from books, per Freud’s account of the ‘wild’ psychoanalysis. 


  1. De Mijolla, A., ed. 2005. Wild’ Psychoanalysis. In: International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis. Detroit: Thomson, pp. 1860-1861.
  2. Freud, S. 1910. ‘Wild’ Psycho-Analysis. In: The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Vol. 11. London: Hogarth Press. pp. 219-228.
  3. Hakimi, M., 1969. The west is sick: Sexual freedom in West. Maktab-e Eslam, 1(11), pp. 47-50. [in Persian]
  4. Khademnabi, M.M., Khazaee Farid, A., and Aghamohammadian Sharbaf, H.R., 2020. Freud as a Psychotherapist and Scientist in Iran. Res Hist Med, 9(2), pp. 103-110.
  5. Khademnabi, M.M., and Khazaee Farid, A., 2021. The Persian Freud: Freud’s Early Reception through Translation between the 1930s and 1970s in Iran. International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 30(2), pp.75–86. DOI: 10.1080/0803706X.2020.1823472
  6. Nava’i, M., n.d. Introduction. In: S., Freud, Dorus-e Pesikanaliz. Translated by M. Nava’i. no place: no publisher. pp. 1-17. [in Persian]
  7. Shafti, S.Sh., 2005. Psychoanalysis in Persia. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 59(4), pp. 385-389.
  8. Venuti, L., 2009. Translation, intertextuality, interpretation. Romance studies, 27(3), pp.157-173.