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Wixen, B.N. (1970). Object-Specific Superego Responses. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 18:831-840.

(1970). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 18:831-840

Object-Specific Superego Responses

Burton N. Wixen, M.D.


THIS PAPER'S PURPOSE is to draw attention to certain phenomena which, from a particular point of view, may be grouped together as object-specific superego responses. It is such a point of view which enables us to draw certain disparate phenomena together, thereby lending theoretical unity to them. There are also certain theoretical implications which will be pointed out later. Object-specific superego responses may be defined as responses in an individual which appear to be motivated by the superego (i.e. defined by superego referents), which occur only in the presence of particular individuals, or groups of individuals.


The paradigm for this phenomenon may be seen in the transference neurosis. Here an individual's response to the analyst may be one of great concern about what the analyst thinks about particular behavior. In a well-developed transference neurosis the person may be relatively free of anxiety or guilt in his ordinary daily relationships, but acutely anxious or guilty about particular behavior as he reports it during his analytic hour. We ordinarily refer to this as "projection of the superego."


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