IPA Inter-Regional Encyclopedic Dictionary of Psychoanalysis

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Following Freud’s paper on Narcissism (1914b), which was simultaneously a precursor of Structural theory as it was a precursor of Object Relations theory, many contemporary Freudians tended to see object relations as an aspect of overall psychoanalytic conceptualizations (Blum, 1998). As Object relations became a more central interest, there were original efforts to integrate Ego Psychology/Structural Theory and Object Relations. Kernberg (1982, 2015) formulated a view of pre-oedipal unconscious intrapsychic conflict considered characteristic of borderline individuals in which the unconscious conflict is between internalized opposing units of self- and object representations and their respective affective dispositions . Within this conceptualization, affects, which are gradually integrated into the drives, are considered to be a primary (unconscious) motivational system (See separate entries OBJECT RELATIONS THEORIES and CONFLICT). Recently, Bach (2006), Ellman (2010), C. Ellman et al (1998) have incorporated ideas from the British Object Relations School and attended especially to fears of separation, loss of self, and use of the object by the self. Pointing to the difficulty in seeing another person’s point of view, they introduce empathy as a tool for making conscious what had been unthinkable . Ellman (1998) has expanded the access to the unconscious by conceptualizing enactments as bridges to understanding unconscious fantasies. III. Aa. Contemporary Structural Theory / Ego Psychology In the view of modern Structural theory/Ego Psychology, not everything is a compromise formation: repression and other specific defenses are not compromise formations; the ego not only effects compromise, but ego could decide between alternatives (Blum, 1998; Rangell, 1969). Within this school of thought, Kris’s (1956c) and Hartmann’s (1939; Hartmann, Kris & Lowenstein, 1946) discussion of the nature of repression is extended , in theory and in relation to detailed clinical material, to include a multitude of developmental and clinical processes co-occurring (Busch, 1992, 1993; Gray, 1994; Ellman, 2010). Embracing Freud’s concept of the unconscious ego as the key to working through (Freud, 1914a), and refining further the concepts of unconscious ego functioning, contemporary Structural Theory and Ego Psychology study the different forms of the unconscious in a manner which respects the limitations in their explanatory range. These trends become potentially a counterbalance to another contemporary trend of replacing the dynamic unconscious by the implicit, procedural, automatized , and nonsymbolized nonconscious . As an example of such an approach, procedural memory and automatization of mental processes can be used to understand the way in which various ego processes, such as defenses, remain so stubbornly resistant to change, and need a good deal of working through, with practice not using the particular maneuver or defense, and using others, required before the hold of the defense can be undone. Psychoanalysis can, through the study of such processes as defenses, deepen the understanding of this form of unconscious, which takes place through proceduralization and automatization. Many contemporary Ego psychologists observe that repression seems to have lost its justifiable place as a major pivot of analytic work. Seen from this perspective, it is as though various denial defenses such as minimization, and especially stressing other realities (such as


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