IPA Inter-Regional Encyclopedic Dictionary of Psychoanalysis

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to the minute-to-minute interaction between unconscious drives and unconscious defenses (Blum 1998; Rangell 1963; Skelton 2006; Paniagua 2008).

The contemporary regional North American and European psychoanalytic dictionaries, that do not subscribe to any particular theoretical viewpoint, define Ego Psychology broadly as ‘a branch of psychoanalysis, including all areas of study, research and clinical application, that focus on the concept of the ego and its role in psychological functioning, development, psychopathology and treatment’ (Moore and Fine 1990; Auchincloss and Samberg 2012), and as ‘a depth-psychological approach that addresses various mental phenomena from the vantage point of the ego’ (Akhtar 2009), with conflict, defenses, adaptations and, in particular, resistances as special object of study (Skelton 2006). While there is no entry of Ego Psychology in the most recent psychoanalytic dictionary in Latin America (Borensztejn 2014), Ramón Parres’ (1977) publication “El Psicoanálisis como Ciencia” (Psychoanalysis as Science) presents a unique synthetic view of psychoanalytic methodology, including mechanisms of defense, transference, and overriding influence of unconscious processes on the conscious mentation, from ego psychological perspective. ‘Rarely cited, widely used’ characterizes Ego Psychology’s influence on the clinical work, such as detailed clinical history including evaluation of ego capacities and ego functioning throughout the analytic process, including establishment and maintenance of therapeutic alliance, resistances and defense mechanisms, which are considered an important part of psychoanalytic armamentarium of everyday clinical practice, without crediting Ego Psychology as participating in their formulation, throughout all of Latin America. Dictionaries coming out of French and British Object Relations traditions (Laplanche and Pontalis 1973; Hinshelwood 1989), tend to define Ego Psychology (or Ego-Psychology) narrowly as ‘Hartmann’s Ego Psychology school’, which they juxtapose (for different reasons) to both – British Object Relations and the French tradition psychoanalytic thought. --- In line with the broad definition of Ego Psychology (as an open ended phase as well as a branch of the evolution of psychoanalytic theory), this entry includes ‘Hartmann Era – Classical Ego Psychology’, internationally sometimes called ‘American Ego Psychology’, as well as further developments of overlapping ‘Contemporary Ego Psychology’, ‘Modern Conflict Theory’, and ‘Contemporary Freudian Thought’, including examples of various reformulations, extensions, transitions and integrations, stemming from mutual influences with other theoretical models within and across North America, Europe and Latin America. Various examples of pertinent enduring as well as emerging contributions are included as well.


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