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Ortmeyer, D.H. (1984). Aggression in Clinical Psychoanalysis (A Symposium)—Introduction. Contemp. Psychoanal., 20:625-625.

(1984). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 20:625-625

Aggression in Clinical Psychoanalysis (A Symposium)—Introduction

Dale H. Ortmeyer, Ph.D.

THE FOUR POINTS OF VIEW ADDRESSED to "Aggression in Clinical Psychoanalysis" differ in theory and in clinical example, reflecting the dialectic of psychoanalytic controversy and the interpersonal tradition. They continue the discussions among clinicians of: (1) the instinctual origins of aggression; (2) aggression as a defensive reaction (a resistance) to anxiety, narcissistic injury or need; (3) and the embeddedness of aggression in the developmental growth toward separation and individuation. They also discuss (4) aggression as experienced in a variety of patients seen as borderline, hysterical and obsessional.

From an interpersonal and pluralistic perspective, Ortmeyer reviews Freud's case study in obsessionalism, "The Rat Man, " and discusses the positions on aggression of M. Klein, Winnicott and Fromm. He suggests that aggression as instinct, as reaction, or as embedded in individuation, each has its own theoretical and clinical reality. The degree of health or pathology in aggressive experience is a function of previously learned aggressive patterns and innovation in current interpersonal experience. Destruction, however, is a pathological aggressive expression of any level of development.

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