IPA Inter-Regional Encyclopedic Dictionary of Psychoanalysis

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compromise formations born out of conflict. In Brenner's thinking (1981, 1982b, 1991, 1994), everything in psychic life is a compromise formation , a combination of the gratification of drive derivatives (an instinctual wish originating in childhood), of unpleasure in the form of anxiety and depressive affect associated with the drive derivative, of defenses [that] function to minimize unpleasure, and of superego functioning (guilt, self-punishment, atonement, etc.). No thought, no action, no plan, no fantasy, no dream or symptom is ever simply one or another. Every behavior, feeling or thought is multiply determined by all of them (Papiasvili, 1995). This particular extension developed into what is today known as ‘ Modern Conflict Theory ’ (see the separate entries CONFLICT, and THE UNCONSCIOUS). Jacob Arlow (1980, 1987) places unconscious fantasy and unconscious fantasy function at the center of investigation of intrapsychic conflict. While Freud viewed unconscious fantasy as a derivative of unconscious wish, Arlow sees it as a compromise formation that contains all components of structural conflict. Arlow stresses the persistent influence that unconscious fantasies have on every aspect of an individual's functioning; including the spheres relatively conflict free. In Arlow's view, unconscious fantasy provides a mental set that organizes perception and cognitive functioning in general. Unconscious fantasy determines how we perceive the external and the internal world, how we interpret what we perceive, what and how we remember, and how we respond to it. Unconscious fantasies shape our character traits, determine our behavior, our attitudes, produce our symptoms, and are at the heart of our professional interests and love relationships. Throughout development, the essential narratives of the unconscious fantasies endure, though their manifestations undergo endless transformations resulting in different ‘editions’ (Papiasvili, 1995). Leo Rangell (1969a, 1969b) posited the unitary theory of anxiety and revisited the question of signal anxiety versus affect as a trigger for defense in a intrapsychic conflict sequence. He studied ubiquitous microscopic intrapsychic processes before, during, and after the defense was triggered, preceding any psychic outcome, and concluded that no matter what the nature of an unpleasurable affect participating in the conflict, the immediate signal for the use of defense is anxiety. Subsequently, Rangell described an unconscious cognitive-affective sequence of impulse-anxiety-defense-psychic outcome while maintaining that anxiety continues as a trigger and motive for defense behind all other states of unpleasure. In this context, the anxiety is about unpleasure overwhelming the ego. Rangell (1969a; 1969b) identified an unconscious decision-making function within the ego’s expanded unconscious executive functioning which ultimately shapes the specific psychic outcome. Through interaction with self and object representations, intrapsychic trial actions, representative of an intrasystemic choice conflict within the ego , occur. Objects are assessed for intended discharge. The self is assessed for a feeling of anxiety signaling danger, or safety and mastery, an unconscious equivalent of ‘how safe, or how risky for me would be to do…?’. Harold Blum (1980, 1985) addressed the issues of personality continuity and the creative and integrative aspects of defense analysis . He writes: “…The means of defense itself may undergo a change of function…What is defended against may be…the drives, superego, [or]…other areas of ego functions which…have to be reclaimed and reintegrated. Both,


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