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Reich, W. (1928). I a Criticism of Recent Theories of the Problem of Neurosis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 9:227-240.

(1928). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 9:227-240

I a Criticism of Recent Theories of the Problem of Neurosis Related Papers

Wilhelm Reich

In The Ego and the Id certain principles were laid down on which to base a future psycho-analytical theory of character. In this work we have an account of the repressive faculties, of their evolution from the id and their relations to one another and to the outside world. This gave us a certain 'totality' of outlook, which justifies us in speaking of a 'new trend' in psycho-analysis (the analysis of character). The theory of the super-ego, of the unconscious sense of guilt, of the need for punishment and so forth, is not a new field of research, independently evolved, which has now to be grafted on to the older theory of the neuroses or even makes it superfluous. Rather, there has been an organic development from the earlier, indeed the very earliest, views and theories of Freud. Thus the fundamental thoughts on which 'structural analysis' and the theory of the super-ego are based are to be found already in Freud's first works. I need only remind my readers of the conception of conscience, of the ego-ideal and of the conversion of outer into inner frustration, as these conceptions were formulated before 1923. What was new in principle in The Ego and the Id was, first and foremost, the change in the classification of the instincts, already outlined in Beyond the Pleasure Principle: we have no longer simply sexual and ego-instincts, but sexual (life-) and destructive (death-) instincts.

In the psycho-analytical literature of the last three years (nearly all of which bears the impress of The Ego and the Id) two trends can be clearly traced.

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