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Deutsch, H. (1939). A Discussion of Certain Forms of Resistance. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 20:72-83.

(1939). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 20:72-83

A Discussion of Certain Forms of Resistance

Helene Deutsch

The subject of defence mechanisms, which was first opened up by Freud in his Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety (1926), has received a further expansion and clarification in Anna Freud's recent book. It will undoubtedly give a stimulus to further investigations in the same field.

The analyst has an opportunity during treatment of studying the mechanisms of defence in their purest form. He meets with them under the aspect of resistance, i.e. in the functions which ward off or weaken the psychical tendencies mobilized by the analysis. Confronted with defence mechanisms which function well and perform positive services to the ego, psycho-analytical treatment has only one task: that of strengthening them, in so far as they do not function as a resistance against repressed material which is important for the ego.

It is obvious to all of us that the resistances which we encounter as an 'anti-cathexis' will have a particular character appropriate to each form of neurosis and to each analytic situation. Nevertheless it seems worth while to attempt to bring about a certain grouping and order in this mass of self-evident material.

To begin with, it is, in spite of everything, not entirely clear why in certain individuals one type and in others another type of defence stands in the foreground, and why, although other forms of defence are simultaneously present, the analytic situation is predominantly coloured by some particular defensive tendency.

I have attempted, first and foremost, to arrange the typical forms of resistance in three groups, corresponding to the three chief currents which together constitute the essence of analytical technique, and to subdivide these in turn into typical sub-groups and lastly to investigate them in relation to their origin.

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