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Tausk, V. (1924). Compensation as a Means of Discounting the Motive of Repression. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 5:130-140.

(1924). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 5:130-140

Compensation as a Means of Discounting the Motive of Repression

Victor Tausk


Freud's discovery that forgetting ideas is invariably motivated by some painful affect accompanying them suggests the correlated problem: how is it that repressed ideas re-enter consciousness at the end of a series of free associations? Is it possible that during the process of association a repressed idea loses its painful tone, or is it that the painful affect loses its quality as a motive for repression? Looked at from this angle, the problem is seen to be a general psycho-biological one; and the answer in accordance with the teaching of Freud would run as follows: the subject accepts a lesser pain—namely, that which is involved in reproducing the repressed idea—in order to avoid the greater pain which would follow from frustration of the mental activity already undertaken. Where psychic parapraxes (blunders) are concerned, occurring in normal persons whose thinking processes are consciously directed to an end, we may certainly assume that the impulsion towards uninterrupted mental functioning is sufficiently strong to overcome the resistance to recollecting the repressed ideas that should make their appearance in the train of thought. The parallel with neurosis is self-evident. There it is the burden of the illness which acts as an incentive to recovery and therefore to the relaxation of the repression.

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