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Stephen, A. (1947). The Super-Ego and Other Internal Objects. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 28:114-117.

(1947). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 28:114-117

The Super-Ego and Other Internal Objects

Adrian Stephen

The concept of the super-ego was devised by Freud to co-ordinate certain observed facts. It has served its purpose very well, but that does not imply that we must remain for ever satisfied without as clear a description of these facts as we can get. There has been much argument lately on such questions as that of the date when the super-ego first appears, the nature of so-called 'internal objects' and so on, and though it does not much matter what technical terms we use so long as we are certain what facts they refer to, I still feel that we have some need to clear our minds.

As everyone knows, Freud did not arrive at his concept without some, so to speak, experimentation. He thought of the concepts among others of the 'Censorship' of 'Narcissism' of the 'Ego Ideal' of 'Whole Objects' and of 'Part Objects' of 'Libido' and of 'Aggressivity'. His latest conclusion was that the 'Super-Ego' was partly inherited and partly the result of the introjection of a lost Object that was both loved and hated. What I want to attempt to-day is to correlate some facts that we all of us must constantly observe with Freud's concept of the 'Super-Ego'.

Leaving the super-ego on one side for the moment I will ask what it is that all of us continually observe in analysis, and the answer is, I think, that we observe our patients in the act of fulfilling their wishes as best they can in the circumstances in which we have placed them. I do not know whether that statement will appear paradoxical or self-evident, nevertheless fulfilling our wishes as best we can is surely what we all do wherever we are and all the time.

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